Resources & Policy

Leadership Challenges in an Uncertain Age (2017)

Drawing on responses from 250 company directors and senior executives who are members of the Institute of Directors in Ireland (IoD), the Leadership Challenges in an Uncertain Age report explores the views of directors and senior executives and how they operate during a time when uncertainty dominates the business agenda. It captures business leaders' practices, priorities and perspectives on planning for the future, known uncertainties (Brexit, the GDPR and cybersecurity), governance and the impact of uncertainty on business leaders' personal lives. Our sincere thanks to our members who undertook the survey on which this report is based.

Some key findings

  • 91% of business leaders say Brexit is the greatest current risk to companies in Ireland
  • 40% believe Brexit will have a negative impact on their business; 23% concerned about a hard border with Northern Ireland
  • Majority of business leaders surveyed concerned about global and domestic economic and political uncertainty
  • 1 in 4 say uncertain business environment has contributed to poor decision-making in the boardroom 
  • 70% of business leaders say their organisation is moderately to extremely prepared for the GDPR
  • In terms of boards' priorities, financial and compliance matters strongly outrank ‘softer’ priorities such as research and development, fostering innovation, diversity and board training
  • The availability of talent with key skills is the most significant constraint to business growth according to respondents (74%)
  • In relation to the issues that are causing respondents the most concern on a personal level, adequate pension provision (45%) is the main concern for business leaders. The volatility of the business environment (37%) is their second greatest concern

For any queries regarding this report or any IoD research, please contact Claire O'Keeffe, Head of Policy & Research, on cokeeffe@iodireland.ie or phone 01 411 0010.