It was the first time Snap had employed a CSO. For underperforming management teams, private-equity funds are often lurking, ready to make a hostile bid. So he also considers himself the point person for assessing whether strategic initiatives, at all levels of the organization, are in line with the company’s standards and objectives. Public scrutiny of compensation packages is only ratcheting up pressure on both boards and CEOs to deliver results in a hurry. Furthermore, with the overwhelming pace of change of business today– and the extent to which these changes impact different functions within the organization – the realization is that strategic planning and implementation is a full-time job, requiring more discipline, structure, and rigor behind the function. Schreiber and other CSOs don’t just wait for the phone to ring, however: They preemptively take the lead on strategic questions that overwhelmed business-unit heads just don’t have time to deal with. They ride herd on change initiatives needed to carry out strategy. CSOs of this type focused almost exclusively on strategy formulation by themselves or with their strategy team. As a result, CEOs are appointing “chief strategy officers”—executives specifically tasked with creating, communicating, executing, and sustaining a company’s strategic initiatives. Web Login. Increased volatility, rapid globalization, the rise of new technologies, industry convergence, and changes in the workforce—all have contributed to an environment in which top-down planning needs to be balanced with quick and agile execution. Account. Even the most compelling strategy is useless if it isn’t implemented. As one of them stated, “It’s very much like what an external consultant would do; the only difference is that we’re internal… These leaders develop strategy and oversee functional teams responsible for safety and security, human resources, finance, information technology, real estate and facilities planning, construction, and maintenance, business operations, audit, Second, CSOs must drive immediate change. To follow through on their mandate, successful strategy executives employ a handful of high-level principles. When should we move into a new market? Look for CSO candidates with these characteristics: “What we’ve been doing isn’t in line with the company’s strategy—and we need to fix that.” Someone in your organization has the mandate to walk into any office, speak those words, and spark some sort of transformation. Direct interaction with and feedback from the troops is essential for CSOs to keep their companies agile and their strategies flexible. And finally, CEOs these days must be prepared to respond to an array of voices: shareholder advocates, the financial community (Wall Street analysts, private-equity deal makers, hedge-fund managers), government regulators, legislators, attorneys general, NGOs, environmental activists—and that’s just people outside the company. Most of the chief strategy executives we spoke with and studied had significant experience in formulating strategy, often gained at top management consulting firms or through years of strategy-related work in companies—but this was rarely the dominant portion of their careers. Boards, under intense pressure to add value themselves, are frequently pulling the plug on CEOs they deem ineffective. Or what decisions have we not made that we need to make, because we’re heading down a path and it’s going to be hard to reverse course?’” explains Kimberly-Clark’s Black. Chief Executive officer(CEO) 2. content, By the time the two months were up, Black and Falk had together created an updated list of goals, informed by Black’s newly acquired understanding of the company’s operations and aspirations plus his rich store of leadership and strategy experience. After the CEO’s six-month search for a strategy chief proved fruitless, he turned to his longtime colleague. Black’s attitude and approach to his job map closely to another of our research findings: Most top strategy executives are star players more so than professional coaches. By the end of 2006, the company had achieved dramatic growth and acquired several critical new businesses. A Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) is a C-level executive who develops and executes strategies to accomplish financial growth in a company. Indeed, many of the CSOs we interviewed said that both candor and tact were critical for doing their jobs well. Yet, deeper exploration revealed many common traits in these individuals—characteristics that, taken together, help define a consistent, although often unfamiliar or misunderstood, role. Post a Chief Strategy Officer job to 100 job boards with one submission. At other companies, innovation is at the core of the change effort. Address. That’s the traditional model, after all—vision, planning, and directives flow from the very top, and people at all levels of the organization act. Clarifying the corporate vision for others can sound like a relatively leisurely activity, involving meandering chats in offices and conference rooms across the enterprise. Connect With Us 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 203, Washington, DC 20004 Phone: (202) 727-2476 Fax: (202) 727-1643 TTY: 711 Email: [email protected] From the outset, it was clear that there was a variation in CSO roles, focused on two dimensions. Should we be investing in developing a new product or improving an existing product? Under the new CEO, Martin Sullivan, Schreiber’s role has expanded to include formalizing the company’s strategic-planning processes, forging new working relationships and synergies across the organization, and establishing greater transparency and accountability for those people carrying out the company’s strategy. Recognizing a need for high-level help, the CEO initially sought a “chief growth officer.” The person chosen for the role, an internal business leader with whom the CEO had a long working relationship, realized that in order to grow, the company needed to rebuild its sales pipeline, explore different product lines, and reposition its brand. But in large companies, that vision may be opaque to many, which can create resistance or confusion among senior managers and frontline employees and can thwart execution and change. (In 2005, he was named AMD’s chief innovation officer. The CSO must intimately understand what makes … Today’s end-users — customers, commuters, citizens, patients, employees — demand individualized, immediate and intelligent interactions in everything they do, creating an innovation imperative across all business and government sectors. But it may be that a different C-level executive bears the burden of strategy execution in your company—a senior leader like AIG’s Brian Schreiber. For example, your organization may have a strategy that no longer aligns with your goals. By the end of 2006, the firm had achieved dramatic growth and acquired several critical new businesses. Many CSOs therefore have long-standing relationships with their CEOs. Unlimited digital But they’re another management challenge for stressed-out executives, as big companies enter into literally thousands of relationships spanning the globe. Half the job involves learning why decisions aren’t being made in accordance with strategy and quickly determining whether to stay the course. Structuring the Chief Information Security Officer Organization. “Without achieving real understanding and agreement, there will be lots of grinning and backslapping over the strategy but zero change when people get back to their offices.”. Paying a contract CSO less than $49,000 for 6 months minus benefits is a reasonable alternative to hiring a full-time executive level W-2 employee. Department Links. Chief administrative officer 9. Clarifying the corporate vision can sound like a leisurely activity, but the reality is far more urgent. They must be able “to tell [the strategy story] in a way people can understand and buy in to,” says Countrywide’s Janet Matricciani. Get weekly updates on how global companies are managing in a changing world. There’s no simple, step-by-step recipe for success in the role of chief strategy officer—but there are a few essential ingredients. That’s the traditional model, after all—vision, planning, and directives flow […]. Because he was coming from outside the organization, Kimberly-Clark’s Black told CEO Thomas Falk he wanted to take 60 days to get to know the company better before he signed off on strategic objectives that had been developed before he arrived. As one of them stated, “It’s very much like what an external consultant would do; the only difference is that we’re internal.” As a result, we have called this archetype the “Internal Consultant.”, This type of CSO adopted a very rational approach to the development of strategy. Special Offer. Then consider the nature of strategy itself. Johnson & Johnson is a company of enduring strength. Chief Strategy Officer (CSO): A chief strategy officer (CSO) is an executive charged with helping formulate, facilitate and communicate an organization's plans for the future. For some, that tenure is much longer: In early 2007, Walgreens promoted John Gleeson, a 37-year veteran of the company, to the company’s newly created CSO post. Further, as Harvard Business School professor Joseph L. Bower has noted in these pages, iron-fisted control of execution often eludes the top team’s grasp, as line executives seek to define strategy on their own terms. What companies should we consider acquiring? CEOs are being weighed down by the ever-growing complexity of doing business in a global economy. They preemptively take the lead on strategic questions that business-unit heads don’t have the time to deal with. Schreiber’s experience, while impressive, is not unique. A newly appointed CSO recognized that growth would hinge on rebuilding the company’s sales pipeline, offering additional product lines, and repositioning its brand. Enter the Chief Strategy Officer. Either way, CEOs are recognizing the ever-changing nature of strategy development and execution, the ever-compressed time frames they have in which to achieve results—and the ever-growing value of having a trusted, in-house strategy executive at the ready. The key factor in all of these questions is alignment with company strategy. Executive Director, Corporate Finance . “Over the course of a week, I’m spending time on consumer innovation, business process outsourcing, financial structure, international expansion, communications, acquisitions—most people in today’s functionally oriented career paths don’t have the experience to address so many diverse challenges at once. Your CSO will use their expertise and knowledge on your organization to properly adjust your current strategies. 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