News

When it’s “us vs. them” in the executive suite

When a CEO takes the helm, there are two schools of thought regarding turnover in the top management team. Some argue big changes in the executive suite are necessary, because CEOs can more quickly put their stamp on the firm if they bring in their own people. This “sweep-out effect,” as scholars call it, enables a new CEO to enact operational and cultural changes with a clean slate, unencumbered by executives beholden to the previous regime or the status quo.

Taking the opposite view, some analysts suggest that because incoming CEOs have so much on their plate, they’re making a mistake if they don’t tap into the internal knowledge and expertise possessed by incumbent executives. Indeed, studies have shown that too much change after a new CEO’s appointment can be disruptive, dragging down firm performance.

A new study offers a more nuanced appraisal of the dynamics in post-succession C-suites, investigating

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Six building blocks for revitalized B2B marketing and sales

If you’re a B2B company leader, you know how important face time is. Sales visits, trade shows, and demonstrations present opportunities to engage with customers and highlight your knowledge, experience, and ability to solve problems at scale — key differentiating factors that can make or break your growth curve. But COVID-19 has brought these sorts of interactions to a screeching halt. To respond effectively, you’ll need to accelerate your digital investments in always-on, virtual models for engaging customers and evolve your operating model to realize the full potential of those investments.

Some investments can add value quickly, without too much difficulty, and others will require more time. Launching or bolstering e-commerce, virtual trade shows and innovation center demonstrations, and digital configuration tools can be done in a matter of months. For example, the time frame for standing up e-commerce channels has collapsed from 20-plus weeks to less than 10 weeks

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CEOs need to take the lead on upskilling

Companies and their CEOs had to pivot almost overnight in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: Businesses had to go virtual to keep their operations running, and that meant going digital. This quickly changed how people worked, where they worked, and what skills they required.

The rapid move to a predominantly virtual world exposed gaps in the capabilities of companies and of their people, something that leaders were already struggling with before the pandemic. PwC’s Talent Trends 2020, which was based on survey data

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Leading your team of hunter-gatherers

There was much consternation among business leaders about the changing demands placed on them before the global coronavirus pandemic. Some of the concern was generationally driven. Some was rooted in the gig economy and the growing demand for alternative work arrangements. And some of it was about the need and expectation for constant upskilling. Then came COVID-19, like an earthquake on top of already significant tectonic shifts, turning even staid nine-to-five office dwellers into a hyper-nimble, dispersed workforce of the future.

Leaders who expect things to get back to “normal” are ignoring the lessons of evolutionary history. Our current circumstances demand that businesses, and their leadership, adapt or die — but how? The answer to this question also lies in humanity’s deep past.

Generational differences within the workforce get a lot of attention. Yet the most significant changes leaders must deal with actually arise from the transition to project-oriented work

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Enterprise agility and experience management efforts work best when they work together

The leaders of the financial firm’s business transformation had reason to be proud. They’d been getting good results in their efforts to embed agile methods in the company’s operations. In the credit card contact center, for instance, they’d slashed the trouble ticket backlog by 97 percent in the first year of their initiative and reduced training time for new hires from five days to less than two.

Yet the leaders had found it difficult to scale agile across the entire organization. They struggled to identify, prioritize, and activate the program’s highest-value applications after their initial success. And they were no better at consistently and comprehensively measuring the impact of the opportunities they did pursue.

Enterprise agility was not the only initiative to run aground at the firm. The chief customer officer had been building an experience management (XM) discipline — tracking customer journeys, collecting data from customers and employees worldwide,

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Amping up innovation

The global utilities sector, which has a market capitalization of US$2.1 trillion, is at the front end of a dramatic energy transition that will radically alter future market strategies, business models, and customer interactions. As we noted in our 2019 Global power strategies report on the world’s 40 largest utilities (which we call the Global Top 40, or GT40), long-held hypotheses about market direction, pace, impacts, and requirements have been overturned. Companies are acutely focused on devising market responses to the challenges of that transition by decarbonizing the generation mix, embedding grid intelligence, redefining customer value propositions, and elevating technology’s role in enabling energy supply, delivery, and consumption.

As our colleagues Blair Sheppard, Daria Zarubina, and Alexis Jenkins have written, industries — including utilities — were already facing a need to reconfigure their businesses to deal with the impact of forces such as digitization. But the COVID-19 pandemic has

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