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Leadership questions for the post-Covid environment

Beyond the immediate challenges of the pandemic, CEOs have the opportunity to reimagine and ‘future-proof’ business and organisational models. Indeed, 90 percent of executives agree that the crisis will fundamentally change the way they do business over the next five years. The main driver of this? 85 percent foresee major changes to their customers’ needs and wants[i].

Business change cannot succeed without complimentary – or proactive - leadership change. Shortly prior to the pandemic, less than 10 percent of workers thought their organisations leaders had the right skills to thrive in the digital economy[ii]. The shift to a digital, automated and in the future a biotech driven economy, not only requires specific new skills and goals, it necessitates a shift in how leaders position themselves. Pete Drucker’s quote that ‘The leader of the past was a person who knew how to tell. The leader of the future will be a person who knows how to ask,’ still rings true today. What are some of the key questions do CEOs need to be asking today, and for the future?

1. What business(es) or we in?

Covid will accelerate the confluence and collision of industry boundaries, leading to an accelerated infusion of ideas, talent, opportunities and challenges from previously unrelated or tangential industries. Increasingly, the solutions to problems and challenges, as well as new opportunities, are found at the intersection of multiple fields[iii].


2. What talent do we need for now, and the future?

Talent changes are apparent even for industries certain of their future sector, given the rate of digital, intelligent and other forms of change. CEOs will need to define their firms’ mission-critical roles and craft a new ‘social contract,’ with workers[iv].


3. How do we plan for the future when the present is so uncertain?

CEOs should consider preparing short, medium and long-term scenarios for their organisation[v]. Balancing today, tomorrow and beyond requires new perspectives, input and vision.


4. How does my thinking need to adapt?

Successful CEOs of the future will need to cultivate a critical view of the bigger picture. For many, this will require a shift in their mental models, moving ‘...from serial thinking to parallel thinking, and hierarchical thinking to network thinking[vi].'

Our goal at CEOforesight is to help leaders reduce the risk of being blindsided by foreseeable change, and take advantage of the opportunities that foresight provides. https://www.ceoforesight.com/

[i] Source: McKinsey, 2020 https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/innovation-in-a-crisis-why-it-is-more-critical-than-ever [ii] Source: MIT Sloan, 2020 https://sloanreview.mit.edu/projects/the-new-leadership-playbook-for-the-digital-age/ [iii] Source: Fast Company, 2020 https://www.fastcompany.com/90516784/this-is-the-indispensable-skill-that-will-future-proof-your-career [iv] Source: Bain, 2020 https://www.bain.com/insights/a-new-social-contract-talent-post-covid-19-world-fm-blog/ [v] Source: INSEAD, 2020 https://knowledge.insead.edu/blog/insead-blog/rising-to-the-challenges-of-covid-19-recovery-14206 [vi] Source: CEO blognation, 2020 https://rescue.ceoblognation.com/2020/05/17/where-is-the-future-of-leadership-going/

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