C-Suite Intelligence 11st May 2020

Winmark's C-Suite Intelligence service providing news, content and research to help leaders across all C-Suite functions address the exceptional business planning and management challenges they are facing.

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Practical and helpful advice on ‘Thriving in Lockdown’
Now more than ever it is important for organisations to recognise the importance of well-being. The current situation is unique and looking after yourself, maintaining mental health and managing your workload is paramount.

Winmark Technical Partner XPS have kindly shared the following 'Thriving in Lockdown' videos created for them by Russ Boulter.
Russ has recorded these short, simple and very useful films with advice on how to work at home effectively whilst managing your wellbeing, some ‘digital tips’ for the new world of video conference calls, and, most recently, how to manage stress and maintain a positive mindset.   


The restart: eight actions CEOs can take to ensure a safe and successful relaunch
McKinsey & Company
The end of the lockdown will not spell a return to the old “normal”, nor will it be universal. The opening will take different shapes, with different countries, different regions, and different business sectors opening up in different ways and at differing speeds.
How can companies navigate this difficult environment, especially in the next few weeks, as the restrictions are loosened? Their eagerness to restart and rebuild is understandably large, but so are the questions that a return to business raises. What is the financial health - and state of mind - of suppliers and consumers? How can employees be motivated to return to work and reassured about their safety? How quickly will demand return? What will health and safety stipulations mean for the organization of operations and supply chain?

Based on research and conversations with leaders of large French, European, and Asian companies from all sectors, this detailed article focuses on eight key actions:  
  1. Creating a detailed relaunch map
  2. Providing customers with safety guarantees that restore trust
  3. Safeguarding the health of employees
  4. Reviving demand
  5. Rebooting operations and supply chain
  6. Shifting IT and technology to restart mode
  7. Steering the restart with care
  8. Sustaining value creation born from crisis and reinvesting in recovery 
For full details and examples read here..  
The art of listening in virtual meetings
Harvard Business Review
There is a lot of sound advice about how leaders can run more effective virtual meetings. While this advice is critical, what is often overlooked is the role that listeners play in ensuring a meeting’s success. The bigger the group, the less responsibility each individual feels to ensure success. In virtual meetings - and especially on conference calls - you might feel less motivated to listen and participate.
How can you give more to (and get more from) virtual meetings? The secret to effective participation involves thoughtful and targeted listening. Here are five strategies to listen more effectively in your next virtual meeting:
1. Define your value beforehand.
Distill the purpose of the meeting and what your value could be. What is the most critical information you have? What is it you want to contribute? Be ready with those points. If you do not have a critical role to play or do not need to present any information, identify exactly what you hope to learn from the call. Figuring this out beforehand will help you listen more carefully.
2. Acknowledge previous statements.
Before you raise a new topic, reiterate what you just heard and even ask the speaker whether you’ve characterized their point correctly. Not only does this help the conversation, but it makes it more likely that others will hear what you have to say. People are more likely to listen if they first feel heard.
3. Connect the dots.
Listen carefully to participants’ contributions and then see how you can reflect on what you’ve heard to help move the conversation. For example, let’s say you notice that several participants mention that a client is frustrated. You might say, “I’ve heard several people say that the client seems frustrated. I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on why this frustration is happening right now?”. Notice that you are not actually giving any new information. By listening first and then connecting the dots, you can help the other participants understand the larger dynamic and guide the conversation in a productive direction.
4. Bring your attention back.
It’s natural for your mind to wander during the call. It happens to even the best listeners. As with meditation, try to gently note the distracting thought and return your attention to the call. It helps to have a pad of paper next to you. This act of writing down wandering thoughts allows you to put the thought “somewhere” so that you can return to it later. 
5. Don’t be afraid to ask a question.
Don’t be afraid to ask a clarifying question. You might say, “I apologize. I lost track of the conversation for a moment. Would someone please help me understand why we are now focusing on…” This may also help others on the call, as it is likely you are not the only one who is confused.
Thoughtful, active listening raises your status in the conversation and makes it more likely that others will listen to you.
For full details read here.  
Tax function's role in response to COVID-19
Now, as more countries impose stringent restrictions on the movement of people to stem the spread of COVID-19, tax functions have had to quickly adapt to maintain their normal responsibilities with tax personnel working remotely. This includes staying current with many tax changes arising from the COVID-19 measures enacted by governments around the world.
Mobilising large numbers of tax function employees to work remotely has been the first significant challenge. It will be important to have an appropriate framework in place to manage resources globally and establish collaboration protocols. Some considerations:
  1. Infrastructure and equipment. Providing tax function employees with adequate technology, equipment and infrastructure to work remotely is a priority.
  2. Policies. It is important to consider whether tax staff have been provided guidelines, policies and expectations on how to work remotely. 
  3. Tax compliance resourcing. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and economic uncertainty remains, companies may experience resource shortages. Nevertheless, tax compliance requirements still need to be met.
  4. Relief measures oversight. Companies may be well-served by establishing a tax committee to help identify and assess the applicable COVID-19 government economic, tax, legal, and relief measures for all countries globally where they have material businesses. 
The pandemic will cause organisations to reassess their tax operating models, improve the efficiency of tax processes, and leverage technology to be more agile. The potential focus on costs will lead to considerations on how to resource the tax function, including outsourcing, managed services or optimising and automating in-house processes to free up time for tax personnel to focus on other activities. Companies should consider establishing a steering committee to review and build on lessons learned, create a roadmap of what to prioritise and implement key actions.
Find out more here. 

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