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Ready for 2011?

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As business people struggle to stay afloat in 2008, it seems unkind to ask them whether they feel ready to succeed in the world as it will be in 2011. But that's just what a forward-looking Accenture survey did, in the U.S. and abroad.

Among American executives in medium-sized and large companies, 46 percent said they do feel ready to succeed in the world of 2011. There was no gender gap on this matter, but responses varied by age group. While just 34 percent of baby boomers said they're ready for 2011, 49 percent of Gen Xers and 56 percent of Gen Yers said the same. You can interpret the findings to indicate that younger people truly are more prepared for the business challenges of the next decade. Or you can take the findings to mean the young folks are more apt than their elders to be delusionally over-confident, given the uncertainties of a volatile business environment.

The same survey asked respondents whether they believe "men and women are equally effective in building business relationships." In the U.S., 66 percent said they believe the sexes are equal in this respect. But the rest were much more likely to say men, rather than women, are more effective (26 percent vs. 8 percent).

As for the 16 other countries included in the survey, executives in India and China were the most likely to say they're ready for 2001 (70 percent and 68 percent respectively). China also had one of the survey's larger gender gaps, though, with 73 percent of men and 61 percent of women saying they feel ready to succeed in 2011. Of the 11 European countries surveyed, Switzerland and Austria shared the highest incidence of confidence (46 percent) and France had the lowest (24 percent).