Build for the Future

The convergence of powerful macroeconomic forces, technological disruption, and shifting market dynamics is widening the gap between flourishing and foundering companies. What does it take to build for the future?

The basis for achieving short-term performance and building competitive advantage is changing. Growth, which accounts for 60% to 70% of shareholder returns in the medium term, has plateaued in traditional markets. The biggest opportunities now lie in tech-powered markets, which are growing at ten times the rate of their traditional counterparts.

In this environment, many CEOs and other senior leaders are asking how their organization can chart a course for the future. However, a handful of leading companies are thriving in this new world. They created $9.3 trillion in shareholder value in the past five years. In addition to reaping significant rewards, they are outperforming across a number of financial and nonfinancial metrics.


What sets these players apart?

Our latest research sheds light on the six attributes—key success factors—that regardless of sector allow the most advanced companies to outperform, withstand shocks and disruptions, and exploit innovation for value-creating growth. In addition, we have identified the steps companies must take—and how best to take them—to reach the coveted position of being a company that is built for the future.

The C-Suite’s Blueprint to Building Competitive Advantage

How do companies deliver both near-term performance and sustainable advantage? Leaders need to drive programmatic change before they transition to continuous year-over-year improvement. They need a blueprint that identifies which capabilities to build and how to best execute investments to maximize their return. While the specifics of this agenda will vary by sector and each company’s unique context, a clear path has emerged that all companies must follow to build for the future.

Critical to this journey is developing the six attributes—already demonstrated by leading organizations—that are key factors for success, allowing companies to move into high-growth markets and seize new opportunities.

Our research at hundreds of companies across industries suggests that building these attributes and critical capabilities is a multistage journey. Many players are stagnating, unable to even start to lay the foundation for a digital transformation. Most are emerging. They are reaping some transformation benefits but are challenged to drive solutions across the organization. A select few are scaling capabilities, and even fewer are future built, having developed the capabilities that will allow them to grow from driving innovation to, ultimately, being on the leading edge of disruption.