C-Suite Intelligence 23rd 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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Goal 13 Impact Platform report: how companies are managing the transition to a low-carbon and resilient future


This report, based on research with 100 companies, captures company-specific insights into climate commitments, the organisation of climate programmes, the most impactful initiatives, their climate and commercial impact, barriers to progress and lessons learned.

Respondents include leaders responsible for strategy, sustainability, finance, and procurement. Findings include:

  • Commitments are becoming more ambitious, but more is needed to increase their scale and scope.
  • Companies are feeling pressure from all stakeholders.
  • In many cases the climate programmes remain siloed, although many are working to embed programmes better across the business.
  • Companies are primarily focusing on their operations, but supplier and customer engagement is increasingly important.
  • Unclear policy roadmaps, industry structures and other barriers are inhibiting progress.
  • Progress is reliant on extensive collaboration, both internally and across the value chain.


From general manager to CHRO


An increasing number of companies have appointed CHROs from business functions, based on a view that the HR function should be led by someone with strategy and operations experience.

Six reasons why a CEO could consider a CHRO with no HR background:
  1. Their previous business experience gives them legitimacy and credibility with a wide range of stakeholders, including the board.
  2. They bring a business angle to the HR function and align it to better support the business.
  3. They dare to bring big changes to the function, simplifying or retiring prior practices or processes.
  4. They avoid “HR for HR’s sake”, focusing on crucial activities that serve the business.
  5. They push their teams to a higher level of impact and help them gain or regain pride.
  6. When promoted from within, they become natural “culture carriers” and they role model the opportunity to pursue a career path that includes shifts and growth.
However the debate remains open whether this practice is wise. This article discusses the hands-on experience of business leaders who have switched to the top HR role.

Why digital transformation always needs to start with customers first

Enterprise CEO

Customers’ expectations, preferences, changing patterns in how and why they purchase need to be the core of any digital transformation effort.
  • 63% of organisations say delivering an excellent customer experience as measured by customer satisfaction scores defines success as a digital-first business, according to a recent IDG study.
  • 67% of CEOs say acting with agility is “the new currency of business; if we’re too slow, we will be bankrupt,” according to KPMG.
  • 33% of CEOs say their organisations are struggling to keep pace with the need to transform their businesses to stay competitive digitally based on KPMG’s research of manufacturers’ adoption of digital technologies.
  • AI and machine learning are considered essential to digitally transforming organisations and making all processes more customer-centric, with 41% of CEOs saying these technologies will improve data governance and data analytics capabilities.
The two highest-payoff areas for accelerating digital maturity and realising its many benefits are mastering data and creating more intelligent workflows.

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.

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