Top 10 Vistage Research & Insights of 2019

Economic trends, talent and leadership are the key themes that best captured the interest of Vistage Research readers in 2019. With a diverse range of articles from Vistage speakers, chairs, members and sponsors, Vistage Research provided small and midsize business leaders with research, data and expert perspectives on the key issues identified as most important to them.

2019 was a year of confidence with caution. A slowing economy, offset by slower yet continued growth, challenged many CEOs to keep up. The uncertainty and unpredictability of trade and tariffs further complicated an already volatile business environment. The talent wars intensified, which increased CEO focus on employee retention and recruiting. Topics on leadership development are always in demand as each leader follows their personal leadership journey, always striving to be better.

The collection of our most popular posts below illustrates what has been top of mind for CEOs – the need to keep up with rapidly evolving trends, the importance of talent, business operations, and the never-ending quest for leadership enhancement. Reviewing these popular 2019 insights will help you prepare for a fresh start in the new year.


Trends affecting business in 2019

Vistage member, speaker and research contributor Marc Emmer, President of Optimize Inc., published a powerful and prolific series of posts on the political, economic, technology, social and ecological trends for 2019. Each post delivers a series of key insights designed to inspire and impact business decision making over the year.

3 key takeaways from ‘CEO Projections for 2019’

We asked over 1,200 CEOs about the economy and their prospects for growth over the year ahead. Confidence with caution emerged as the overarching theme for CEOs. This post highlights three of the eight key takeaways from the research report published by Vistage. The report reveals the top decisions, major investments and key priorities for CEOs going into 2019. Many of those considerations are still prevalent today.

5 economic trends to watch in 2019 (and into 2020)

To help leaders plan for a successful year end and fuel planning for 2020, this post shares how a slowing economy combined with trade/tariff uncertainty set the stage for the key decisions concerning talent, customers, operations, financials and leadership. Based on insights from 1,400 CEOs in a survey conducted in June, this post links to “Decision Factors: 2019 and Beyond,” a report by Vistage Research that identifies the seven key factors CEOs need to consider as they make decisions into and beyond 2019.

Confidence retreats: December 2018 WSJ/Vistage confidence index

Entering 2019, the WSJ/Vistage Small Business CEO Confidence Index fell to its lowest level since October 2016. While business owners remained confident in their ability to grow, concerns over the health and direction of the U.S. economy put leaders in a difficult position as they plotted their path to growth.


4 key strategies to retain top talent in times of change

Newcomer Candice Morton from sponsor Insperity brought a focus on employee retention and engagement in her October webinar. Morton reviews four key concepts to mitigate the impact of change on employees and increase employee retention during that change. Watch the webinar to learn the principles of change management and the power of employee engagement.

Competing for talent in 2019? Ask yourself these 6 questions

Entering 2019, recruiting and sourcing was the top priority for small and midsize businesses. CEOs having a hard time hiring in an economy with full employment gained insights in this post from Vistage member, speaker and sponsor Kathleen Quinn Votaw, CEO of TalenTrust. Votaw identifies the major trends affecting recruitment and retention and shares six key areas of focus for CEOs to ensure they become a “first-pick” company in the highly competitive talent wars.

Business Operations

KPIs and the four core decisions to increase profits

In a slowing economy, the importance of monitoring and managing to the right KPIs is critical. Vistage member, CPA and CEO of GrowthForce Stephen King discusses the four decisions every CEO needs to make to increase profits and how to determine the drivers of those data-driven decisions.

When hackers kidnap your data, should you negotiate?

Cyberthreats are a clear and present danger to all small and midsize businesses. A Vistage survey revealed that 27% of CEOs reported experiencing a cyberattack in the last 12 months. Vistage speaker Cynthia James and CEO of Cyberus Security discusses what typically happens in a cyberattack and why you should consider hiring a professional negotiator when your data is being held hostage. She also identifies five ways to protect your company against a cyberattack.


Micromanaging is not managing at all

Vistage Chair Perry Maughmer gets right to the heart of why micromanaging never has been, is not now, nor will ever be a sustainable method of ensuring your organization is effective and efficient. Perry breaks down why that matters and offers three considerations to ensure that everyone on your team is strategically aligned and focused on producing high quality work.

5 leadership lessons from FDR that inspire reinvention during times of change

Throughout the year, 15-year master Vistage chair and leadership author Greg Bustin has been sharing excerpts from his best-selling book, “How Leaders Decide: A Timeless Guide to Making Tough Choices.” In this post, Bustin shares the five leadership lessons learned by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as he guided the nation through the Great Depression – lessons that are still relevant for today’s business leaders, especially those leading companies through difficult times.


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About the Author: Joe Galvin

Joe Galvin is the Chief Research Officer for Vistage Worldwide. Vistage members receive the most credible, data-driven and actionable thought leadership on the strategic issues facing CEOs. Through collaboration with the Vistage community of…

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