What keeps business leaders up at night?

For this month’s question, wealth Analytics has partnered with the Diligent Institute, the research arm of Diligent, a global leader in modern governance, offering SaaS solutions across governance, risk, compliance, audit and ESG. Diligent granted us exclusive access to the raw data that powers their business sentiment tracker. To construct the tracker, they continuously scoured the web for executive statements and news stories of more than 1,489 publicly traded companies. Of course, the tool’s power lies in assessing the overall perception of business leaders.

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numbers to know


  • …the number of terms in the top 100 (ie, the 100 most commonly used terms by business leaders) in each month of the past 36 months. These terms are: Change, China, economy, future, to grow, India, market, people, strategyand warn.

twenty four

  • …number of months in the last three years 5G is one of the 100 most commonly used terms by business leaders.


  • …inflation has been among the top 100 terms used by business leaders for several months. This streak dates back to December 2020.
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big picture

  • Heading into 2023, business leaders are feeling a little uneasy. last month, 52% Or public statements by company leaders have negative connotations (see second chart below).by contrast 45% November 2021 and 29% November 2020. Much of this could be attributed to stubborn inflation and higher odds of a recession.
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some deeper gains

1. Twitter soars up the charts.

While corporate leaders are notorious for avoiding the media spotlight, Elon Musk not only chases it, but seems to love every second of it. Well, at least he did until 2022. Musk’s tumultuous takeover of Twitter in recent months has clouded the innovator’s public image and become a topic of interest for other CEOs. In fact, last month Twitter was the seventh most commonly used term in public statements by business leaders.

2. CEOs talk about inflation a lot — and that’s not a good thing.

Diligent researchers not only counted the terms executives use most often, they also performed statistical calculations to assess whether the term has positive or negative usage.

Some things, like “inflation” and “FTX” imply negative information, are obvious. Others were a bit surprising, including that when business leaders talk about “Apple,” it almost always has a negative connotation.

3. In terms of rhetoric, CEOs are still somewhat pessimistic.

On the face of it, the U.S. economy (excluding rate-sensitive sectors like real estate and technology) remains fairly strong. The unemployment rate is below 4%, while corporate earnings and retail sales continue to be resilient.

That said, business leaders appear to be preparing for choppy 2023. Case in point: Just look at how often they talk about “recession” throughout the year.

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