Four hundred CEOs in eighty-three countries were surveyed about what they see as key threats to business. There was an amazing degree of consistency on their views.

1. Overregulation – 83%
2. Geopolitical uncertainty (74%)
3. Exchange rate volatility (73%)
4. Availability of key skills (72%)
5. Government response to fiscal deficit and debt burden (71%)
6. Increasing tax burden ((69%)
7. Social instability (65%)
8. Cyber threats (61%)
9. Shift in consumer spending and behaviors (60%)
10. Lack of trust in business (55%)
11. Climate change and environmental damage (50%)
(USA Today 1/20/16)

Leadership Lesson: Of the top 6 threats listed (and mentioned by 60% or more of the CEOs), government was directly responsible for four of the threats and indirectly responsible for the other two.

Several questions to ponder:
• Are business leaders seeing the threat landscape accurately?
• Isn’t distrust of business (#10) a higher concern than any of these other areas?
• If government is responsible for many of these threat concerns but they do not manage them effectively, does the responsibility to address these concerns shift to the business? If so, how much more cost and complexity can businesses take on and remain profitable?
• Is it possible for business work collaboratively with government to address any of the top 6 items?

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