This role was perfect for two reasons. Even in a company where the chief strategy officer is celebrated and comes the closest to setting strategy, he is not doing it. Considering the intellectual horsepower and the internal drive of the strategy leaders, CSO’s often have one eye on the business and the other on a path to P&L ownership. Luis inherited a team of 5 and was allowed to build this up to a team of about 10 people helping him think through issues important to the company. Chief business officer (CBO) is the position of the top operating executive of growing commercial companies or an academic/research institution (such as a university, college, institute, or teaching hospital).In the commercial space, CBO shows leadership in deal making experience with a clear record of results and ultimate transactional responsibility. Primarily, the CSO will focus on building emerging business strategy with a 3-5 year perspective. I was given that role. The chief operating officer (COO) is a senior executive tasked with overseeing the day-to-day administrative and operational functions of a business. They assume that there is some brilliant piece of analyses that can convince the executive vice president. Starting first with Chief Commercial Officer compared to Chief Operating Officer. Imagine you are the divisional executive vice president of a $2B unit being told that the only way for the company to succeed in the future is that if you lower your growth targets so that another unit could use the cash to grow? When met with challenges, this is an individual who will immediately ask questions and re-evaluate decisions with speed and discernment. Both report directly to the chief executive officer (CEO). The operating units also do not report to the CFO and usually do not pay that much attention to him or her either. They aren’t out there climbing the linear path of the corporate ladder. That is why you typically see two types of strategy officers. For a very senior person at the operating, executive or management committee level, moving to strategy is always a move to sideline a person’s career. FIRMSconsultingTM, StrategyTrainingTM, StrategyTVTM and The Consulting OfferTM are. Apply to Operations Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Strategy Officer and more! In terms of full transparency, I have been offered such roles. Earlier in my career, when I was a consultant, the newly appointed CEO of a power producer asked the firm to second a consultant to serve as his chief of staff for about 6 months. When I was an associate I once worked on the reorganization of a massive oil company. Luis absolutely made the right move joining as chief strategy officer. To understand what happened and what chief strategy officers do, we will unpack this with a set of questions. Anyone losing power is going to fight the changes. Regions Financial in Birmingham, Ala., will split up its chief operating officer’s responsibilities rather than appoint a new COO when John Owen retires next year. If Luis made the right move from partner to chief strategy officer, why did it fail? He was a solid partner who was capable, friendly and well liked. It is a critical competitive advantage that most firms/professionals/consultants try to develop yet eventually quit. It is extremely naïve to think that just because someone is credible, they will be listened to. The primary responsibility of the COO is to oversee business operations, which may include marketing and sales, human resources, research and development, production, and other functions. First, a chief strategy officer, assuming they are lucky enough to do corporate strategy, must be able to influence the operating units and management committee. To Luis, this felt like the ultimate insult. As more industries are impacted by volatile changes to the business landscape, we’re seeing a significant rise in the role of the Chief Strategy Officer. By having Luis report to the CFO, it indicates that the CEO assumed the strategy work was finished when the analyses was done. It is far too easy to get entranced by spreadsheets about enterprise value and economic profit, but you need to be able to understand how the strategy changes impact the organizational power structure. Chief Strategy Officer: Promotion or Demotion? Your stand begins now. The bigger problem of the Chief Strategy Officer. Earlier career stints with leading consulting firms are also common, providing them a core set of strategic problem-solving skills. That explains why he was being asked to report into the CFO. In a previous piece and podcast I discussed why internal strategists are not given as much respect as those working on the operating side of the business. However, it’s not uncommon that senior-most strategy leaders are former senior consultants (often partners) of top-tier strategy consulting firms such as McKinsey, Bain & Co, Boston Consulting Group, or others. “Is the Pepe from Jimmy John’s OK, sir?” [Tweet “Your CSO is your Chief Sandwich Orderer. It’s a position that has become far more prevalent in the C-suite within the last decade – often under the guise of a head of strategic planning – but is seeing increasing activity as the economy continues to strengthen. If new to the organization, this is a role that is frequently met with skepticism, both from the senior team and the frontline workforce. +6 books. This type is usually brought in when the company wants to run a series of operating interventions, which require a high degree of energy. Every single consultant, except the most senior partners or lucky junior consultants (analysts, associates etc.) Luis reasoned that if his team built an effective screening process for M&A they could prove their worth and be given access to broader leadership discussions. As Chief Strategy Officer Charlie will be responsible for corporate development, financial product development and business development in addition to continuing to lead the Markets Team. To complete the Like this? Finding them is not the hard part; engaging and recruiting them most certainly is. Fast and smart decision making is critical, as is agility and flexibility. Business development can be highly numbers oriented with M&A target screening or very operational around securing sites and integrating assets. This shows a common misunderstanding about strategy on the part of the CEO. Luis was a McKinsey strategy principal specializing in manufacturing and advanced materials. How Is a Chief Revenue Officer Different from a Chief Financial Officer? After his travels, he returned, fairly excited at that, and wrote up his views on the problems/opportunities the company was facing. It’s important to understand that the roles of Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) and Chief Sales Officer (CSO) are equally complex. Is Luis frustrated? In short, this is a person whose broad experience grants them a diverse array of skills. This raises two very important considerations when taking chief strategy officer roles. Period. Today’s top 1,000+ Chief Strategy Officer jobs in United States. The CEO assumed that once the analysis was handed over to the CFO, everything would click into place and the recommendations would be accepted. I am not referring to leading a smaller strategy unit within a division of a bank or a company. To put this in perspective, remember that the CEO cannot institute merger discussions without the board’s approval. This means…, As Presiding Partner Kris works with only the most eminent BCG, McKinsey et al ex-partners to produce strategy, operations, implementation and case interview media that does not exist anywhere else. It took 9 years for a new CEO to come in and implement the strategy by offering the operating heads a change in their power base, but not a reduction of their power. Beyond experience, Chief Strategy Officers must be pragmatic, analytical and tactically persuasive. Susan Avarde / Marketing Strategy & Customer Experience . The point about impartiality also explains why external firms like BCG will always do the corporate strategy work even with a chief strategy officer present. process please click the link in the email we will send you. This is in addition to ensuring the business remains aligned with the overarching corporate strategy. Who is the Chief Growth Officer, the CMO or the CBO? The core responsibilities of the Chief Strategy Officer are as unique as the company they serve. Every business unit must share the vision and understand the gravity of the decisions involved and the discipline required to create change. However, strategic planning is only half of the job; executing that strategy is vital, which means they need to have functional capabilities and the leadership capacity to work and communicate effectively with people across the entire organization. That is a common mistake we make when accepting these roles, or any role for that matter. + editable slides, Advice from partners who have collectively advised +100 Fortune 100 CEOs. Chief of staff is a fancy word for executive assistant to the CEO. In many ways, this was a failing on Luis’s part. In fact, if this path is not present, external candidates evaluating the opportunity may not consider making a move.