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Five priorities for CEOs in the next normal. What matters most?

Leaders can raise their organization’s odds of success by establishing and implementing five trends.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated several trends that were already reshaping the global economy. During a McKinsey Live webinar Liz Hilton Segel, McKinsey’s global leader for industry practices, explained that CEOs can raise the likelihood of their organization’s success in the next normal by prioritizing these five priorities:

  • Operate with purpose. Successful organizations give employees the opportunity to reflect on how their own sense of purpose connects with the organization’s purpose, and help people fulfill their purpose at work.
  • Cultivate talent. Attracting, developing, and retaining the best talent is more important than ever. Successful CEOs and managers aim for a sense of community by empowering, and actively listening to, their employees. Companies that align benefits with employees’ priorities, clarify career paths and development opportunities, and streamline decision-making processes have a distinct advantage in the labor market.
  • Embrace speed and resilience. To maintain an accelerated pace of work, leaders can adopt technology more quickly, find high-impact ways for employees to collaborate, and break down silos to create a flatter organization.
  • Shape digital transformation. To successfully drive digital transformation, large scale investments and changes must start from the top down. CEOs should act as champions for their companies’ transformations and embed digital into the DNA of every aspect of the organization.
  • Center strategy on sustainability. It’s time for companies to take action by integrating climate-related factors and plans for achieving net-zero emissions into their strategy and business decisions. Effective CEOs take visible ownership of the company’s sustainability agenda.

While different industries and markets will implement these priorities in different ways, the CEO needs to focus on all five priorities simultaneously to improve the odds of organizational success.


For more on this topic, please read the interactive article collection “What matters most? Five priorities for CEOs in the next normal” and the articles “Help your employees find purpose—or watch them leave,” “‘Great Attrition or ‘Great Attraction’: The choice is yours,” “Speed and resilience: Five priorities for the next five months,” “The digital-value guardian: CEOs and digital transformations,” “Women in the Workplace 2021”, and “Managing the net-zero transition: Actions for stakeholders”.

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