Leadership priorities for creating resilient organizations

To build a resilient organization that capitalizes on disruption, CEOs are creating and sustaining a culture of innovation, rethinking their operating model and rebooting their current leadership teams. 

The innovation disconnect

Our research shows a significant disconnect between the culture of innovation that CEOs aspire to and what currently exists in their organizations. 

We found that 84 percent of CEOs said they want their employees to feel empowered to innovate, without worrying about the negative consequences for them if an initiative fails. However, only 56 percent said their organization currently has a culture where ‘failing fast’ innovation initiatives, regardless of their success, are celebrated. 

CEOs with a culture in which ‘failing fast’, unsuccessful innovation initiatives are celebrated, by sector

Source: 2019 Global CEO Outlook, KPMG International.

Markus Tacke

Agile or irrelevant

The pressure is on organizations to act with agility. Change is accelerating, as the demands of key stakeholders — from customers to regulators — shift and evolve with increasing frequency. Constant technological innovation — from automation to cognitive computing — is threatening long-established business models.

CEOs recognize the danger of being too slow and cumbersome in a fast-moving age. Over two-thirds (67 percent) believe that acting with agility is the new currency of business and that if  they are too slow they will become irrelevant.

Implementing agile approaches at an individual project level is relatively straightforward, but one-off initiatives will not usually have an enterprise-wide impact. This requires a fundamental rethink of the company’s operating model.

C-suite reboot

C-level roles have already changed significantly over the past years, as CEOs respond to new demands. The established direct reports of the CEO — such as CFO and CMO — have been joined by new C-suite capabilities, from Chief Analytics Officers to Chief Digital Officers. 

However, while CEOs have added more firepower to their leadership teams, they are not stopping there. A significant majority of CEOs (84 percent) said that they are actively transforming their leadership team to build resilience. 

Henadi Al-Saleh

Throughout this document, “we”, “KPMG”, “us” and “our” refer to the network of independent member firms operating under the KPMG name and affiliated with KPMG International or to one or more of these firms or to KPMG International.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewees and survey respondents and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of KPMG International or any KPMG member firm.  KPMG’s involvement is not an endorsement, sponsorship or implied backing of any company’s products or services.