1 in 4 business leaders ill-equipped for AI disruption

While 70% of business leaders believe their company will be disrupted by AI in the next five years, only 20% believe their organisation is currently prepared for this disruption, according to a report from Kearney and Egon Zehnder.

This and other findings are based on a poll of business leaders who are based in the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom and Germany.

The rapid growth of AI is a contributing factor to this, with 73% of those surveyed believing their preparations are limited by time, people, and money. 

Meanwhile, more than half (51%) believe that a lack of understanding around AI from leaders is contributing to the problem. 

On the flip side, of those who feel their organisations are prepared, 89% attribute this to their leadership team’s understanding of AI and its capabilities.

The report found that 85% of business leaders still see AI as an opportunity for their organisations, with more than 90% seeing it as an opportunity for them personally within their roles. 

To take advantage, business leaders are getting preparations such as investing in infrastructure (49%), building external partnerships (44%), and recruiting expert talent (39%).

Arjun Sethi, regional head and chairman of Kearney in the Asia-Pacific region, said that as AI continues to transform companies in the region, leaders can help their teams embrace the change and challenges that AI brings, and make sure their organisations are reaping the benefits.”

Sethi noted that the report has shown that the prevailing sentiment among leaders when it comes to AI is optimism. The challenge now lies in translating this optimism into tangible action.

“Keeping pace with AI through personal learning and continuous exploration are pivotal steps for leaders to not only embrace this transformative technology but also ensure sustained success in an ever-evolving landscape,” he said.

Burcu Bicakci, partner at Egon Zehnder who leads T&C and AI in Southeast Asia, said organisations are likely to change drastically with new AI-enabled technologies—and soon. 

Bicakci said the report underscores the critical role of leadership in comprehending the impact of AI on their business and steering their organisation accordingly. 

“Although the pace of AI adoption has accelerated, it is never too late for leaders to devise a clear AI strategy that can guide their organization through this transformative phase and keep them ahead of the curve,” she said.