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Who’s ready for more green shoots? Last week we showcased findings from our most recent Corporate Board Member survey of public company directors, which found them increasingly optimistic about where the economy was headed, adding, of course, the usual boilerplate caveats about one data point not being a trend, yada yada yada.  

Well, this morning we can add at least one more positive data point (and remember, at least in journalism, three is officially a trend). Chief Executive’s latest polling, released this morning, finds America’s business chiefs increasingly optimistic about where the economy is headed, with a growing proportion expecting conditions to rally by the end of the year. 

Chief Executive’s August CEO Confidence Index, a survey of 157 CEOs fielded August 2-4, soared 14 percent over last month’s reading, to 5.8 out of 10, where 10 is Excellent. After four months of continuous decline, optimism clawed back two months of losses, as CEOs report seeing early indicators that by this time next year, the country will be in a recovery. 

Polled CEOs say demand remains strong and pipelines active, supply chain strains have continued to ease, and overall costs are moderating. Digging into the numbers:

  • Better, not worse. 30 percent of CEOs now expect conditions to improve over the next 12 months, up from only 14 percent in July. That’s a 114 percent increase month-over-month, and a significant narrowing of the gap between them.

  • Profits up. 53 percent of CEOs polled in August forecast increasing profits over the next 12 months (+6 percent since July)

  • Revs up. 63 percent expect revenues to rise (up 10 percent month-over-month)—the first increase recorded since the beginning of the year, in January. 

  • Hiring flat. At 46 percent, the proportion of those who plan to increase hiring over that same period has remained flat.

  • Capex flat. From 40 percent in July to 38 percent in August, the proportion planning to increase capital expenditures dipped slightly.

“I am feeling more optimistic this month than in prior months that we may avoid a recession—or if we have it (or are in it), it will be brief,” said the CEO of a small PE-backed technology firm we talked to. “The economy was ‘too hot’ which is why we couldn't hire people, couldn't get goods from point A to point B, and it was causing craziness. By cooling it down, we will actually get back to a semi-normal labor market, which will bring wages back in line and a semi-normal supply chain. These will be welcome changes.” Very welcome. Read the full report >

— Dan Bigman, editor, and Melanie Nolen, research director, Chief Executive Group.

Preparing for an Exit: Key Considerations for Business Owners. If you’re a business owner contemplating an exit any time in the next five years, join us for an exclusive CEO peer roundtable to ensure maximum take-home value for your business and yourself on Tuesday, August 9 from 1:00 - 2:00 pm ET. Learn more >>


Your next right hand. In his many years working as chief operating officer, Raghu Krishnaiah has learned what it takes to succeed as a modern COO and, as he notes in this piece for Chief Executive, three skills in particular CEOs should look for.

Uncivil discourse. It infiltrates the workplace like a firestorm, fanning the flames of manipulation intended to make team members question their own reality and forcing segregation by political and social values. Gaslighting is deadly to any team's productivity, writes business advisor Brian Smith, and it’s a fire that must be put out quickly before it spreads.

‘Trust is the number one issue.’ Technological and social changes, from the rise of biometrics to the demise of Roe v. Wade, have put companies’ HR chiefs in the hot seat on employee privacy matters, according to a special report for sister site StrategicCHRO360. Here’s what you need to know.

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  • The great unrest. Yum! Brands CEO David Gibbs recently crystallized the confusion a lot of people are feeling right now, as they try to figure out what’s going on with the U.S. economy. (CNBC)

  • Moving the mountain. Leading big, complex change continues to be a struggle, and the rate of failure for transformation projects remains high. Surprisingly, the force that has the greatest impact on change outcomes is humans’ primary need to belong. (HBR)

  • The doomsayers. A small minority of economists predicted the U.S. economy would contract this past quarter, and only five say it will continue to shrink. Here’s why. (Bloomberg)
Upcoming Events

CEOs On The Fiduciary Hook: New Legal Obligations On Health Plans
August 16, 2022 | 1:00pm - 2:00pm ET | Live, Online

CEO Talent Summit
September 28, 2022 | Live, Online
Keynote: Bill George, Former Chairman and CEO, Medtronic; Co-Author, True North: Emerging Leaders Edition

Strategic CFO Forum
October 17, 2022 | Nasdaq MarketSite, New York and Online
Keynote: James Kavanaugh, Senior Vice President and CFO, IBM

Leadership Conference

November 3-4, 2022 | Denver, CO and Online
Keynote: Jim Collins, Bestselling Author of Good to Great, Built to Last and Turning the Flywheel

past webinars

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