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Early results from world-first Change Intelligence Index show organisations are in danger of lagging behind global shifts in new ways of working, with only 1 in 10 putting the customer at the heart of the business. 

The evolution of the business environment is rapid – but Australian leaders risk being too slow to catch up.

That’s just one of the initial findings from ground-breaking survey led by Change Intelligence (CQ) firm Blue Seed Consulting to assess the readiness of the country’s top organisations as we move towards the fourth industrial revolution.

Exponential changes in technology are fundamentally altering the way we live, work and relate to each other in the 21st century.

Failing to keep pace

Organisations are failing to keep pace, the survey’s initial results show, with almost three-quarters (72%) of leaders admitting that a conscious recognition of a shift in leadership skills was not on their radar.

“We are on the cusp of large-scale organisational transformation which will favour the bold and courageous: now is the time for CEOs and leaders to rethink the key roles they play and responsibilities they share, to bravely steward their organisations towards future ways of working,” says Blue Seed Principal Karen Wood.

“Our greatest concern is that organisations are unprepared for the juggernaut of change that is heading their way.”

Launched in December 2018, the CQ Index is the first of its kind to gauge how organisations are preparing for challenges created by the forth industrial revolution.

The survey asked Australia’s top leaders from a wide range of industries, 38% financial services, 16% public service and 12% professional services among others.

The first round of results revealed

The first round of results has revealed hope as well as concerns: more than 80% of leaders realise that organisational culture can propel change, with four in ten taking action and using the company’s purpose and values as a vital factor to attract new talent.

Nearly a third of respondents are working on ways to make their company hierarchies flatter, becoming more agile and collaborative, but many reported they simply don’t have the skills to address a shift from business as usual to change as usual.

And while 90% of organisations are adopting or looking at adopting new technologies, just 3% felt they had robust technology at the moment, including AI and robotics.

“Australian businesses are gaining awareness of the potential opportunities and challenges of the fourth industrial revolution, and yet alarmingly few are acting,” explains consulting co-founder Chantäl Patruno.

 “There is a significant gap of activity between knowing and doing, which urgently needs to be addressed if Australian businesses are to keep up with the dynamics of the rapidly changing global playing field.”

Other findings from the CQ Index include:

  • Only one in ten leaders said they had placed the customer at the heart of everything they do
  • Reliance on the wider eco-system will become critical for long-term survival, but only a quarter of respondents said they were actively seeking collaboration opportunities in the market and 30% never give it any consideration
  • Just over a fifth (22%) of organisations said they were developing new governance and risk models to forecast changes within the business to support innovation and learn from mistakes, while 30% said governance wasn’t on their radar
  • Only 20% of leaders reported making great strides through the adoption of collaborative technology to support learning and communications
  • Three-quarters of those surveyed said they have never discussed, or are only just starting to discuss, the need to embed change capability into routine operating systems – with only 6% feeling fit for the future.

Chantäl adds: “We define Change Intelligence as the ability to lead through disruption while applying a unique way of thinking, acting and being; it’s a fresh way of working that can help your organisation become a thriving, adaptive and agile force.

Our Survey will continue

“We will continue to gather insights with the hope of seeing a positive shift towards stronger organisations that are ready for the future, something we’re calling Organisation 4.0.

“These valuable results will inform the broader conversation, focus additional research and allow us to be even more targeted in the way we support our clients.”

To add your opinion to the CQ survey click here.