2014 Global Street Fight™ Study
The Global Street Fight™ was developed by G&S Business Communications as a thought-leadership platform to describe the current state of the global economy and the challenges facing today’s business, marketing and communications leaders as they compete for market share. In light of this, chief executives face the dilemma of choosing the path to restore public confidence in their leadership abilities and strengthen their own reputations.
G&S and Harris Poll, a leading global provider of information and insights to aid business decisions, teamed up to explore public perceptions of corporate leadership in today's environment, focusing on the areas of boldness, innovation and trust. The Global Street Fight™ Study 2014 was co-developed by Steve Halsey, principal and managing director, business consulting, Gibbs & Soell, and Robert Fronk, senior vice president of reputation management and public affairs, Nielsen.
The result is an insightful view of how the public sees the C-suite today. Americans are conflicted on whether CEOs should focus on successful risk management to ensure steady and consistent operations or bold, innovative leadership to drive business forward.
Key findings include:
- 53 percent of the public believe the main priority of the CEO is to be a risk manager while 47 percent believe it is to be bold and innovative, as compared to last year’s even 50-50 split between the two traits.
- 25 percent of Americans say senior leadership at large companies is weaker today than it was five years ago, compared to only eight percent who think senior leadership is stronger today. In 2013, 30 percent of U.S. adults said leaders were weaker than they were five years previously, compared to 10 percent who thought they were stronger.
- 52 percent of U.S. adults feel leadership has a balanced focus on short- and long-term goals, up from 47 percent in 2013. However, only 39 percent of the Opinion Elites share this view.
- While the majority of Americans believe leaders are both innovative and bold today, the Opinion Elites believe leaders are less bold than the general population.
- The majority (53 percent) of younger adults (age 18-44) feel a CEO’s main priority is to be bold and innovative.
- Across all demographics and levels of social engagement, strategic thinker (74 percent), innovative (71 percent) and risk-taker (58 percent) are the most important attributes of a bold leader. Younger adults (age 18-34) are more likely than their older counterparts to consider dreamer, confrontational and stubborn as characteristics of a bold leader.
- Older individuals (age 45+) are more likely than their younger counterparts to think leadership is weaker today than five years ago.
- Retirees (63 percent) are the most likely to feel that a CEO’s main priority is to be a successful risk manager.
Scroll down to download full news release, study and supplemental infographics for 2014 Global Street Fight Study.
“The private employment rate exceeded pre-recession levels for the first time last month, the stock market shows modest gains and the housing market continues its recovery, yet the majority of Americans do not appear to be giving corporate leaders credit for these positive signals,” said Steve Halsey, G&S principal and managing director, business consulting. “The public has grown tired of the volatility and is clamoring for strategic thinkers who can navigate near-term hurdles and drive toward future growth with consistency, stability and poise.”
“The Opinion Elites wield considerable power in the public spotlight,” said Robert Fronk, senior vice president, Nielsen Reputation Management and Public Affairs. “Business leaders and communicators must pay attention to this vocal group, which has the potential to skew the conversation since they are so active in both traditional and social media. Whether a company’s strategy is built on bold innovation or consistent risk management, communicators must ensure their leaders are clearly and credibly articulating the reasons for their chosen paths.”
Free downloads of 2014 Global Street Fight Study, news release and supplemental infographics:
Access our archived Global Street Fight Study and image from 2013: