YPO Global Pulse

The YPO Global Pulse report focuses on gathering insights from global chief executives on the topics that influence businesses and drive leadership decisions.

The New CEO Frontier Leading in the Post-COVID-19 World

About the report

COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on our lives, businesses, economies and governments, but as we enter the final quarter of 2020, YPO, the global leadership community of more than 29,000 chief executives, surveyed its members to get a pulse on their outlook and gather insights on how they plan to navigate in a post-COVID-19 world. This report explores chief executives’ perspectives on managing their workforce into the future, traits business leaders believe are most critical for the CEO of the future, recent business pivots, and predictions for the next 12 months.

Key findings

  • Nearly half of chief executives have a slightly or significantly more negative business outlook compared to what it was on 1 March 2020. While this percentage is significant, it represents an improvement in negative business outlook as compared to survey data from the previous six months. Over one-third of business leaders report their business outlook is slightly or significantly more positive as compared to 1 March 2020, a notable increase from May 2020 data of 23%.
  • Forty-five percent of leaders expect their number of employees to remain the same one year from now as compared to 1 March 2020. The other two business outcomes—revenue and total fixed investment—are less agreed upon by chief executives, with near-even splits of those who expect significant increases versus decreases.
  • Work flexibility (55%) and digital/technology investments (51%) are the most frequently mentioned changes chief executives have made to their businesses due to COVID-19 that they believe will benefit their business in the long term.
  • These adjustments may help in navigating potential issues that are likely to impact businesses in the next year. Top issues that are extremely or very important to chief executives include COVID-19 resurgence/restrictions and the regional economic environment. This aligns with their predictions that the economic environment will be the most significant issue facing the CEO of the future.
  • Thirty-four percent of respondents believe engagement will be the most significant issue the CEO of the future will face when it comes to managing employees. As 50% of respondents plan to offer part-time remote work in the post-COVID-19 world, engagement may be even more challenging.

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