Survey: CEOs long-term thinkers, poor communicators

NEW YORK: More than six in ten (61%) international consumers believe business leaders take into account long-term goals when making decisions, according to the second annual Ketchum Leadership Communications Monitor survey.

NEW YORK: More than six in ten (61%) international consumers believe business leaders take into account long-term goals when making decisions, according to the second annual Ketchum Leadership Communications Monitor survey.

The results counter the stereotype that corporate officers take actions with only the next quarter's profits in mind, according to Ketchum.

The numbers sharply contrast with beliefs about politicians, which 60% of respondents said have a short-term focus in their decision making.

The global study polled 6,000 people in 12 countries on leadership, communication, and the link between them. Last year, about 3,700 responses were collected for the monitor's first edition.

The survey also found that consumers believe corporate executives can improve in some areas. Only 34% say business chiefs are effective leaders, and just 35% say they are effectual communicators. The CEO and "senior management" rank only sixth and seventh, respectively, as credible sources of information about a company.

This represents a business opportunity for the PR industry.

“It tells us what we need to be saying to clients is that to be credible, you need to start engaging your best advocates, which are your employees,” said Rod Cartwright, director of the global corporate practice at Ketchum.

The survey also shows that words alone from a chief executive don't build credibility; there must be concrete and transparent action taken as well, Cartwright said.

Ketchum came up with the idea for the study in 2011 after watching events like Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring unfold. After finding there was little quality data on the role of communications in leadership in 70,000 leadership books available on Amazon.com, the firm launched the survey to fill that need.

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