C-Suite Intelligence 10th September 2020

Winmark's C-Suite Intelligence service provides news, content and research to help leaders across all C-Suite functions overcome the significant challenges they are currently facing

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How boards can plan for the disasters that no one wants to think about

Harvard Business Review

It’s tempting to call the COVID-19 pandemic a black swan - an event so unexpected that companies could not have prepared for it. But experts have been predicting global pandemics for years, and in January 2020, the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report cited infectious diseases as a potential threat. Yet very few companies included a global pandemic in their highest risk categories.

This article argues that the pandemic is better seen as a “black elephant” - a term derived from a cross between a black swan and the “elephant in the room.”

The companies that thrive in the future will have built resilience into their systems, and they’ll have a ready playbook for getting through black elephants. This article offers board-level guidance for getting there, through governance, leadership development, and compensation programs.


Preventative measures: How your tech, legal and risk functions should prepare for a cyber-attack

Digital Pulse

This article outlines how key functions should prepare for a cyber-attack, including suggesting the following risk management practices:
  • Protect the most important parts - Security budgets and resources are limited so focus your risk management efforts on the services and information that matter the most: what your business needs to fulfil its mission, maintain its competitive advantage or remain afloat.
  • Understand where assets are located, who has access, and who is protecting them - Businesses are retaining more information and leveraging more third parties (including cloud providers) to manage critical assets. Protecting them is key. Ensure you understand your third party ecosystem, what data they have access to and how it is protected.
  • Prepare layers of defence and test regularly - Organisations must establish a strong baseline of preventative, detective and responsive controls, and focus on these controls as an initial priority to materially improve cyber resilience. Clear communication and quick responses on top of these will also dramatically reduce any secondary impacts to a business.

Stretch or safe? The art of setting goals for your teams

Strategy + Business

Uncertainty is raising new challenges for a fundamental leadership skill: goal setting. It is as much an art as a science, because it requires finding the sweet spot between the aspirational and the realistic.

The business leader’s job is to set an ambitious target that will bring out the best in a company’s teams and achieve what may seem impossible at first.

There are considerable risks for leaders in being too ambitious. A stretch goal that is unrealistic may be more enervating than energizing for your team. It’s a theme that has come up often in my hundreds of interviews with leaders, who shared how they had to learn through experience how to find the right balance.

Survey finds CEOs focused on finding opportunity in adversity


The 2020 KPMG CEO Outlook survey offers a unique lens on evolving attitudes as the pandemic has unfolded. KPMG initially surveyed 1,300 CEOs in January and February, before many key markets were beginning to feel the full impact of lockdowns. Then, in July and early August, they conducted a follow-up ‘pulse’ survey of 315 CEOs to understand how thinking has evolved.

The pulse survey finds CEOs focused on finding opportunity in adversity.

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