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Global Economic Outlook 2021

PwC released its "Global economy watch: Predictions for 2021." According to the report: The global economy in aggregate should revert to its pre-crisis level of output by the end of 2021 and expand by around 5% in market exchange rates.  Recovery will be uneven across sectors, countries and income levels and could be more bumpy than initially anticipated as COVID-19 mutates and evolves. Global green bond issuance is expected to top US$500 billion for the first time with investor appetite expected to continue to increase in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) funds.   Get report

The Next Normal: Trends That Will Define 2021  

McKinsey & Co. on Jan. 4 released an article that examines what 2021 will look like for business. According to the article, trends will include: A return of confidence and consumer rebound Leisure travel bounces back, but business travel lags A wave of innovation and new entrepreneurs Accelerated Fourth Industrial Revolution Changed shopping behaviors Supply chains balance, shift Future of work arrives ahead of schedule A biopharma revolution Accelerated portfolio restructuring Increased sustainability Click for article  

How to Be a Superboss: Hire Most Talented, Push Constant Learning 

Nurturing talent will help companies survive the global COVID-19 pandemic, according to Peter Cappelli and Sydney Finkelstein.  Cappelli, a professor of management at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and Finkelstein, a professor of management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, recently recorded a podcast on superbosses.  The key, they said, is finding the best talent, then pushing them to continue learning and hitting goals. Click for podcast and transcript   


An Aug. 31 McKinsey & Co. executive briefing explores key lessons learned during the first seven months of the COVID-19 pandemic and how to apply them.   Because businesses are taking on crisis response in numerous countries, many of the ideas are as relevant to private-sector leaders as to those in the public sector, according to the article. Interventions within the briefing are divided into three categories: Detecting disease Reducing the number of new cases Limiting mortality Click for article  

The CEO Moment: Leadership for a New Era

The COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge for businesses and their CEOs: an abrupt dislocation of how employees work, how customers behave, how supply chains function, and even what constitutes business performance, according to the McKinsey & Co. report "The CEO Moment: Leadership for a New Era." Confronting the moment, CEOs have shifted how they lead. The changes have great potential beyond this crisis. The report explores four shifts in how CEOs are leading that are also better ways to lead a company: Unlocking bolder ("10x”) aspirations. Elevating their “to be” lists to the same levels as “to do” in their operating models. Fully embracing stakeholder capitalism. Harnessing the full power of their CEO peer networks. If these shifts become permanent, according to the report, they could hold the potential to recalibrate organizations and how they operate, companies' performance potentials, and their relationships to critical constituents. Click for report

Innovation in a Crisis: Why it's More Critical Than Ever 

A McKinsey & Co. article asserts that the COVID-19 crisis presents an opportunity few feel equipped to pursue. Among surveyed executives across industries, only 21% said they have the expertise, resources and commitment to pursue new growth successfully.   Nearly 75% said changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic will be a big opportunity for growth, with variation across industries. Nevertheless, most leaders are focusing on current problems instead of the future. This decline in focus on innovation is evident across all industries surveyed except for pharmaceuticals and medical products, which show a nearly 30% increase in the immediate focus on innovation. Click for report

3 Critical Steps to Climb Out of the COVID-19 Crater

Economic leadership expert David Nour, in a Forbes article, writes, "In a recent conversation with a long-time friend and colleague, Mark Kaiser, we discussed what it would take to climb out of the current economic crater. "Mark, as a successful entrepreneur and CEO of high-growth businesses, has spent his entire business life focused on interpreting incomplete and imprecise data that were directional. In our experience, lack of immediacy in available and actionable data can often lead to invalid assumptions, reliance on outdated tools in uncharted waters, and poor decisions regarding the strategic path." Nour and Kaiser explain three steps they think will be critical for businesses. Click for article


"Now that every firm in every industry is dealing with survival, it’s time to let those old ways give way to the new at a breakneck pace," writes Art Petty for SmartBrief. The COVID-19 global pandemic will change five business management practices forever: Remote work for knowledge workers will become the norm. Collaboration and innovation practices will become more entrepreneurial. Transparency on risks and finances will be expected. Strengthening decision-making muscles will become a thing. The supervision mentality will be replaced by coaching. Click for article  


A McKinsey & Co. report on coronavirus examines three global economic possibilities. A quick recovery, which the authors call "least likely," would include contained intracomplex transmission, with economic impacts limited largely to Q1. The base case is a global slowdown, which would include sustained intracomplex transmission, with a 2020 global slowdown. The pessimistic case would involve a global pandemic and a 2020 recession as transmission jumps and new complexes develop.  Click for report  

COVID-19 Planning Checklist

McKinsey & Co.'s 23-box checklist provides business leaders with specific actions to: Protect Employees  Follow the most conservative guidelines available among leading global and local health authorities (e.g., CDC, WHO).  Communicate with employees frequently and with the right specificity. Support any impacted employees per health guidance.  Benchmark efforts (e.g., certain companies curbing nonessential travel to all countries with community transmission). Stand Up a Cross-Functional COVID-19 Response Team  Designate overall at the C-suite/CEO-1 level. Team should be cross-functional and fully dedicated.  Appoint five workstreams: a) Employees. b) Financial stress-testing and contingency plan. c) Supply chain. d) Marketing and sales. e) Other relevant constituencies.  Define specific, rolling 48-hour, one-week goals for each workstream based on planning scenario.  Ensure a simple but well-managed operating cadence and discipline. Output- and decision-focused. Low tolerance for “meetings for the sake of meetings.”  Deliver minimum viable products: a) Rolling 6-week calendar of milestones. b) One-page plans for each workstream. c) Dashboard of progress and triggers. d) Threat map. Base Goals on Workstreams (vs. employees) Financial Stress-Testing and Contingency Plan  Define scenarios that are tailored to the company, including global slowdown over multiple durations. Identify baseline planning scenario.  Identify variables that will affect revenue and cost. For each scenario, define input numbers for each variable through analytics and expert input.  Model cash flow, P&L, balance sheet in each scenario. Identify input variable triggers that could drive significant liquidity events (including breach of covenants).  Identify trigger-based moves to stabilize organization in each scenario (A/P, A/R optimization; cost reduction; portfolio optimization through divestments, M&A). Customer Care  Protect customers (e.g., no penalties for cancellations, waiving fees, flexible booking models).  Preserve customer loyalty (e.g., premium discounts, loyalty packages). Supply Chain   Define extent and timing of exposure to areas that are experiencing community transmission (Tier 1, 2, 3 suppliers; inventory levels).  Immediate stabilization (critical parts rationing, optimize alternatives, prebook rail/air freight capacity, after-sales stock as bridge, increase priority in supplier production, support supplier restart).  Medium-/longer-term stabilization (updated demand planning and network optimization – solve for cash, accelerated qualification for alternative suppliers, drive resilience in supply chain). Marketing and Sales  Immediate stabilization (inventory planning, near-term pricing changes, discounts).  Medium-/longer-term stabilization (investment and micro-targeting for priority segments with long-term growth).  Examine online vs. branch strategy (e.g., in China now, no footfall traffic in major metropolitan areas but significant online demand; investing much more in digital). Practice Plan With Top Team Through In-Depth Table-Top Exercise  Define activation protocol for different phases of response (e.g., contingency planning only, full-scale response, other).  Key considerations: Clarity on decision owner (ideally a single leader), roles for each top team member, “elephant in room” that may slow response, actions and investment needed to carry out plan. Demonstrate Purpose  Support epidemic efforts where possible.  Click for full report, including supply chain actions to consider.


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