The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the world in ways big and small, from back offices to boardrooms, across industries and geographies. Yet C-suites are not only working differently – the very nature of their roles has changed. Traditional, predictable responsibilities have been subsumed by new demands amid shifts in how teams work, what customers want, and dramatic changes in the outlook of sectors and industries.
At the same time, all of the other urgent global challenges that were increasingly preoccupying leaders before the COVID-19 pandemic – such as the climate emergency, widening income inequality and job displacement – remain. In fact, many have been exacerbated by the pandemic, which has revealed the fragility of the global economy and the precariousness of many livelihoods.
Addressing major challenges – internally and externally – is a core responsibility of senior leaders. Yet the nature and sheer scale of the challenges faced today is different, particularly because it places new, unfamiliar demands on traditional roles. How should leaders adjust? And how can C-suites collectively both weather the COVID-19 storm and seize the opportunity to reframe the future of their organizations?
“There’s been a lot of talk about purpose,” Barclays Bank Group Chairman Nigel Higgins said in a recent EY webcast, “and now is the moment for businesses to show who actually means it.”
For individual leaders within the C-suite, there are a series of actions each can pursue. We’ve identified what’s required now, next, and beyond the pandemic for the chief information officer, the chief marketing officer, chief operating officer, chief revenue officer and chief supply chain officer.