Top 5 Priorities for C-Suite Executives in 2023

Community Blog
Written by Clare Ryan

MAY 16, 2023

Each year at Evanta, we survey the C-level executives across all of our communities to ask their top priorities for the year. It’s critical information for us to collect and understand in order to offer content that resonates with them. Their priorities, goals and challenges drive our topics, sessions, and agendas, so that our programs are truly driven by the executives, and for the executives.

The Leadership Perspective Survey also gives us the opportunity to compare enterprise-wide priorities across the different roles in the C-suite, as well as to the previous year. This year, more than 3,200 executives have responded to the survey, and their number one priority for the enterprise is increasing operational efficiencies and productivity.

Top Priorities Across the Enterprise in 2023

  1. Increasing operational efficiencies and productivity
  2. Driving growth
  3. Optimizing or reducing costs
  4. Digital business acceleration
  5. Improving customer experience

The current economic environment – with the prospect of a recession at worst and ongoing uncertainty at best – seems to be impacting executives’ priorities across the enterprise. Increasing operational efficiencies moved from #2 in 2022 to #1 this year, and optimizing or reducing costs jumped from #10 last year to #3 this year.

Driving growth dropped down one spot, as did digital business acceleration – showing that executives are still tasked with finding opportunities for growth and innovation, but have to balance that with economic pressures. 

These were the top five enterprise priorities across the C-suite in 2022.

Top Priorities Across the Enterprise in 2022

  1. Driving growth
  2. Increasing operational efficiencies and productivity
  3. Digital business acceleration
  4. Improving customer experience
  5. Innovating for competitive advantage

We asked C-level leaders about the economy specifically in a survey in November – high level results can be found here – and at that point, 60% of respondents said their organizations were in growth mode. In addition, 44% were feeling positive or very positive about the economic outlook for 2023 then, while 28% were neutral, and 28% were negative or very negative. Some also felt that a recovery would take 1-2 years (48% of executives). Now, they are a few months into 2023 without additional clarity on the economy, and as a result, might be focusing more on budgets and resources. 

In terms of focus areas for 2023, there are also some differences depending on the executive’s role in the C-suite.

Opportunities for Alignment and Collaboration

This year, increasing operational efficiencies and productivity is an important area of focus for all of the C-level roles, landing in the top three for everyone. That’s a consistently important issue for executives, but perhaps is rated a little higher in their current operating environment. Optimizing or reducing costs has more noticeably increased in importance, appearing in the top five for almost everyone, except Chief Data & Analytics Officers.

The enterprise priorities are fairly consistent across the roles, with a few exceptions. CISOs and CHROs both cited one of their key functional areas – reducing risk and employee satisfaction and engagement, respectively – as a priority for the enterprise, as well. In addition, CDAOs, who are perhaps more focused on insights and analytics driving business growth, said that improving customer experience and innovating for competitive advantage are top priorities for them.

Given their shared goals and objectives, it’s interesting to think about ways in which various leaders could collaborate across the C-suite. They are all highly focused on improving operations – how might a COO or CIO work with their peers to evaluate opportunities for better productivity? If they are optimizing budgets and resources, how could they collaborate on this or potentially find shared resources? They are all tasked with finding ways to grow their companies – how could they work together since all of them consider it a top-five priority this year? 

When your mission critical priorities are aligned, there should be plenty of opportunities to collaborate cross-functionally. We highlight these shared goals and objectives – as we do every year – as a reminder of how important it is to break down the silos internally and understand the motivations of your peers. 

Are these similar to your priorities for the year? If you’re interested in finding peers with similar challenges and opportunities, join your local Evanta community or take part in an upcoming discussion or program on one of your top priorities for 2023.