Five ideas for businesses looking to move fast and decisively

KPMG Chairman and CEO Lynne Doughtie says businesses need to weigh what they stand to lose if they don’t adopt new technologies, or adopt them imprudently.

By Lynne Doughtie


As they ride the tailwinds of tax reform and regulatory relief, U.S. CEOs are primed to pursue growth aggressively through mergers and acquisitions, overseas expansion and investments in innovation and collaboration. They are highly confident in their business prospects and their ability to disrupt the sectors in which they operate and confront risks head-on.

In fact, 77 percent are “very confident” in the growth prospects for their companies over the next three years, up from 46 percent a year ago. Thirty-six percent have a “high M&A appetite” and are likely to undertake acquisitions which will have a significant impact on their organization.

These emerged as key findings in KPMG’s 2018 U.S. CEO Outlook, based on a survey of 400 chief executives across all industries.

It's also evident from the survey that the robust economy, coupled with the digital and demographic changes that are transforming the business landscape and society, are creating invigorating yet formidable opportunities for growth.



Growth is not only a quantitative measure of revenue or profits. It needs to also include news metrics such as employee engagement and customer satisfaction.
Lynne Doughtie

Our researchers concluded that CEOs need to be flexible and agile, while at the same time adopting a new mindset and mindfulness—to move fast and decisively. They identified five ideas at the foundation of the new mindset:

  • Traditional ways of looking at growth no longer apply. Growth is no longer a quantitative measure of revenue or profits. It needs to also include new metrics such as employee engagement and customer satisfaction. Viewing growth traditionally can lead to missed opportunities, at the very least.

  • Successful leadership in the digital era depends on an educated awareness of what’s at stake. New technologies are bringing about possibilities for business transformations. But CEOs need to carefully weigh what they stand to lose if they don’t adopt new technologies, and what they stand to lose if they adopt new technologies imprudently.

  • Cyber risk is the top risk, no matter the industry. It is getting more sophisticated and not going away. CEOs are becoming more mature in their preparedness for cyber risk. To mitigate risk, they’re moving from basic blocking and tackling to developing long-term, comprehensive strategies.

  • Delivering a data-driven customer experience requires a new approach. While personalized experience is by now a given, the use of data is now under intense scrutiny. That may lead to new forms of customer engagement.

  • Talent management calls for balancing short-term skills gaps with the long-term needs of the core workforce. Smart companies combine their core and contingent workforces. They’re invested in retraining all employees and providing new career opportunities.

I invite you to access the full report here, where you’ll find more data, insights and ideas to help your business succeed.

Lynne Doughtie is Chairman and CEO of KPMG LLP.  Connect with her on Twitter:@lynnedoughtie

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Lynne M. Doughtie

Lynne M. Doughtie

Chairman and CEO, KPMG US

+1 212-909-5323