C-Suite Intelligence 12nd June 2020

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

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The “New Normal” is a myth. The future won’t be normal at all
Bain and Company
The companies that most aggressively adapt to new ways of operating will turn the crisis to their advantage. This article proposes a range of key questions for executive teams to ask in order to help their organisations adapt effectively.
A virtual, digital, automated world
  • How did you deploy incremental technology during the crisis, where did it work, and how can you scale those results?
  • How will you prioritise your technology investments across sales, customer interactions, operations and the back office? 
  • Have you been able to identify the likely failure points in your supply chain and their root causes?
  • Where and how have you already built flexibility at a reasonable cost, and where else do you have to extend that resilience?
  • Do you have real-time and end-to-end visibility and traceability from origin to production line, and then forward to end user? 
Agility that lasts
  • What have you learned in terms of focus, faster decisions and less bureaucracy?
  • Have you prepared your organisation for the future of advance, retreat, adapt, repeat? 


Eight reasons business projects fail, and how to fix them
The success or failure of a project is closely linked to organisational culture. This article suggests eight behavioural themes that businesses should focus on when attempting to drive positive project outcomes. 
  1. Leadership action: Make sure that there is clear ownership of the project and its outcomes and that all leaders are prepared and engaged.
  2. Accountability and decision-making: With no clear ownership for deliverables, pointing fingers will become the culture.
  3. Communication: Projects exist as part of a larger organisation, so it’s important that team members understand the impact changes might have on stakeholders and the business as a whole.
  4. Team sentiment: Everyone should understand the alignment between the project strategy, its objectives and corporate strategy.
  5. Speaking up, being challenged: Constructively challenging decisions should be encouraged by leaders, and risks and concerns recorded and reported openly.
  6. Celebrating success (and acknowledging failures): Talking about setbacks and mistakes means lessons can be learned. Conversely, good news should also be recognised and teams rewarded for success.
  7. Collaboration: A collaborative environment, where teams sit together when possible and meet frequently, will encourage camaraderie and team cohesiveness, even with less-permanent contractors or vendors.
  8. Capability and capacity: Just like organisational leadership, when it comes to culture, project team leaders also need specific skills to do the job required. 
Want to make better decisions? Start experimenting
MIT Sloan Management Review
An experimental mindset has permeated much of the tech sector and is spreading to other industries. Most major tech companies, such as Amazon, Facebook, Uber and Yelp, wouldn’t make an important change to their platforms without running experiments to understand how it might influence user behaviour. Google runs experiments at an extraordinary scale - more than 10,000 per year.

Some traditional businesses, such as Campbell Soup Co., have been dipping their toes into experiments for decades and many more are ramping up their efforts as they undergo digital transformations.
Experiments complement intuition and guesswork with evidence-based insight. We’ve seen them lead to large returns for organisations, such as when an experiment alerted eBay that it was wasting millions of advertising dollars per year.
The events more likely to end a CEO’s reign
This study of US and Canadian companies analyses the primary reasons for CEO turnover.

It concludes that only a handful of adverse events had a material impact on the probability of CEO replacement.

Investor activism is a particularly interesting category. Not only does it increase the likelihood of CEO change by 43% it also leads to much more rapid change than other categories.

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