Priorities for CEOs and What Matters Most: Hitchhiker’s Guide to Technology

What matters most? This year, we’re reminded that family, friends, values, principles, and commitments hold paramount importance.

CEO Commitments: It’s a tough job and getting tougher all the time. In the past few years alone, CEOs have navigated a global pandemic, disrupted supply chains, war, stubborn inflation, and various other challenges. Any one of these is enough to derail a CEO’s agenda. Taken together, it’s the most difficult operating environment we can remember.

Cited Resource: Staying ahead: How the best CEOs continually improve performance, May 25, 2023, by Carolyn Dewar, Scott Keller, Vikram Malhotra, and Kurt Strovink

Overcoming challenges in the current economic and insurance operating environment requires a comprehensive approach. Here are some strategies a CEO could consider:

Risk Assessment and Management:

  • A thorough risk assessment identifies potential challenges and uncertainties in the economic and insurance landscape.
  • Develop strategies to mitigate the impact of external factors.

Adaptability and Agility:

  • Assimilate a culture of adaptability within the organization, including being agile in responding to market changes and adjusting business strategies accordingly.
  • Monitor and stay informed on industry trends and be ready to pivot when necessary.

Digital Transformation:

  • Embrace digital technologies to streamline operations and enhance efficiency.
  • Invest in innovative solutions such as Insurtech to improve customer experience and stay competitive.

Customer Focus Approach:

  • Prioritize customer satisfaction and retention. Understand customer needs and preferences to tailor insurance products and services accordingly.
  • To gain insights into customer behavior, utilize data analytics and market trends.

Cost Optimization:

  • Evaluate and optimize operational costs without compromising service quality.
  • Implement cost-effective technologies and processes to improve the bottom line.


  • Explore new lines of insurance products or expand into related areas to diversify revenue streams.
  • Provide a buffer against economic downturns in specific sectors.

Partnerships and Collaborations:

  • Collaborate with other businesses or form strategic partnerships to share resources and expertise.
  • Enhance capabilities and open up new opportunities.

Employee Engagement:

  • Ensure strong internal communication and employee engagement. A motivated and skilled workforce is crucial during challenging times.
  • Provide training and development opportunities to keep employees updated on industry changes.

Government and Regulatory:

  • Stay informed about regulatory changes and engage with government bodies to contribute to policy discussions.
  • Advocate for policies that support a stable economic and insurance environment.


  • Develop multiple scenarios and contingency plans to address different economic outcomes.
  • This proactive approach helps the organization respond swiftly to changing circumstances.

By adopting a holistic and proactive approach, a CEO can effectively navigate the challenges of the current economic and insurance operating environment. For additional information, contact OIA Resource Center, Jeanie Giesler (, phone 800-555-1742).

Hitchhiker’s Guide to Technology: and shifts that tech leaders can focus on to better manage technology. Major technology trends will change enterprises over the next few years.

McKinsey Digital talks to hundreds of CEOs every year about how CEOs are leading their companies. They’ve consolidated the views that have come out of these conversations and are pleased to offer what they’ve heard about how companies can do better for society, communities, and employees.

Cited Resource: Hitchhiker’s Guide to Technology, December 19, 2023, by Klaas Ole Kürtz, Chandrasekhar Panda, Henning Soller, and Niels Van der Wildt.

Eight Priorities for CEOs in 2024:

  1. Gen AI goes from proof of concept to scale: The arrival of generative AI transforms businesses globally, and CEOs need to determine its application, scaling strategies, and industry impact.

    The biggest story of this year (or decade) was the arrival of generative AI (gen AI). This is the real deal, folks. Thousands of companies in every industry and every part of the world are already using a simple gen AI interface to radically transform every imaginable business activity. But while innovators dominate headlines, it’s scalers that dominate markets. CEOs need to figure out three things, posthaste: which parts of the business can benefithow to scale from one application to many, and how the new tools will reshape their industry.

  2. The biggest capital reallocation in our lifetime: The energy transition’s cost has risen, requiring the creation of new green-technology businesses worldwide.

    That’s what we said last year about the energy transition. The bill has only gone up since then, for the simple reason that amid uncertainty, investors and companies have held back from committing their capital, even as the Earth grows hotter. Let’s be clear: what needs to happen is the creation of thousands of new green-technology businesses, in every part of the emerging business system. We have ideas about wherehow, and when companies should invest.

  3. What’s your superpower?: Companies should identify and leverage distinctive capabilities to stand out in competitive markets.

    Think of any company you admire, and you can likely rattle off one or two superpowers that make it uniquely successful. Toyota and its Toyota Production System. LVMH and its exquisite craftsmanship and the entrepreneurship of its brand leaders. Disney and imaginative customer experiences. A distinctive capability can lift a company out of the mire of clogged, commoditized markets and onto the high ground of outperformance. Exceptional implementation is part and parcel of building a new capability.

  4. Learn to love your middle managers: Recognize middle managers as the core of the company and value their role in driving success.

    Waffle House, an American restaurant chain, is famous for never closing; some say its doors have no locks. It should also be famous for its management philosophy. The restaurant’s grill operators are the stars of the show; after years of training, the best get to be called “Elvis of the Grill.” After that, they don’t get promoted; how do you top being King? But most other companies would likely promote such people into senior management roles that they don’t want and are not suited for. Companies need to rethink their philosophy about middle managers and recognize them for what they are: the core of the company.

  5. Geopolitics: Beating the odds: CEOs should consider black swans and gray rhinos in their scenarios and build geopolitical resilience.

    As Niels Bohr once said, it’s very hard to make predictions, especially about the future. As CEOs watch the changes unfolding in the global geopolitical order, all agree with the sentiment. What comes next? One thing is for sure: events have an uncanny way of defying the expectations of experts. In the face of that, management teams and boards should consider black swans and gray rhinos in their scenarios and build geopolitical resilience that will serve them well, no matter which side of the coin comes up.

  6. Navigating the road to courageous growth: CEOs need to explore growth strategies, including technological advancements and acquisitions.

    It’s a funny thing: growth is always job one for CEOs, but the path to get there is never clear. Sometimes it’s about seizing market share; sometimes it’s about expanding into new marketssometimes it’s about making a left turn into something completely new. The one constant is the ten rules of growth. How will the rules play out in 2024? For many, it will mean rule 4: turbocharge your core, by using technology to power growth. For others, it might mean rule 6: grow where you know, by improving sales productivity. And, as always, the most constant of all is rule 9, acquire programmatically, as the latest installment of our 20-year research effort demonstrates.

  7. A new lens on the macroeconomy: Leading firms capitalize on uncertainty, assess risk appetite, and invest strategically in times of economic cycles.

    Nearly four years after COVID-19 rewrote history, some CEOs are still waiting for macroeconomic certainty. That’s unlikely to happen—and that’s OK. Leading firms capitalize on uncertainty: they assess their risk appetite, and then invest near the bottom of cycles. Most rely on scenario planning, not least because the exercise usually reveals the core actions that companies need to take no matter which way the economy trends. CEOs might want to populate their models with the new scenarios we’ve developed to look at the ways the global balance sheet might develop. Over the past two decades, assets on the global balance sheet grew much faster than GDP—the real economy. But the continuation of that trend is uncertain. Yet another curve ball is the rapid shift of assets from the banking system to private markets, and what that means for public companies.

We hope this article and the in-depth readings available within it give CEOs and executives clarity on the significant issues on their 2024 agenda. And don’t forget that CEOs need to look after the little things and take care of themselves too.

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