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. By understanding how the duties of the chief strategy officer (CSO) can vary significantly from organization to organization, boards and CEOs can make better decisions about which type of CSO is necessary for their leadership teams. Most important, they understand how to focus the organization on executing today, not just on planning for tomorrow. “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. 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. To help existing and aspiring CSOs be more effective, and to aid CEOs who think they might need to hire or appoint a strategy chief, we’ve been studying these executives as a class: Who are they? Get free, timely updates from MIT SMR with new ideas, research, frameworks, and more. Despite such challenges, more and more companies are exploring the CSO option. As Heidrick & Struggles’s managing partner Krishnan Rajagopalan told us: “People take on the chief strategy role because they want to run the business sooner or later. But in many companies, no one’s driving execution. Sign up for a free account: Comment on articles and get access to many more articles. Harvard Business Publishing is an affiliate of Harvard Business School. A Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) is a C-level executive who develops and executes strategies to accomplish financial growth in a company. CSOs must therefore resolve the strategy—that is, clarify it for themselves and for every business unit and function, ensuring that all employees understand the details of the strategic plan and how their work connects to corporate goals. These individuals are rarely abandoned by top executives who recognize their worth. WellPoint’s CSO, Marjorie Dorr, was plucked from her position as president and CEO of the company’s northeast region, where she had increased membership in the health care company’s plans from 800,000 to 2.6 million. The CEO’s vote of confidence and a strong résumé confer the credibility that gets you a fair hearing as a top strategy executive. They instruct others and serve as mentors, certainly. The focus of the job almost always quickly evolves from creating shared alignment around a vision to riding herd on the ensuing change effort. Greater complexity on all fronts may explain why, according to one study, top management spends less than three hours a month, on average, discussing strategy issues (including mergers and acquisitions) or making strategic decisions. Even more important, we've helped shape and define what health and well-being means in everyday lives. They must be able “to tell [the strategy story] in a way people can understand and buy in to,” says Countrywide’s Janet Matricciani. He’s been the strategy chief under two CEOs at the insurance giant. Also consider that stakeholder demands from all quarters are putting pressure on CEOs to deliver results rapidly—and deliver them in line with factors that are only tangentially related to the making and marketing of products or services. Board of Trustees: Joseph Neubauer, Chairman (view bio) President: Robert J. Zimmer (view bio) [collapsed title=Provost: Ka Yee C. Lee] View Ka Yee C. Lee's bio Dean, The College: John W. Boyer Dean, Harris School of Public Policy Studies: Katherine Baicker Dean, School of Social Service Administration: Deborah Gorman-Smith Dean, Law School: Thomas J. Start with changes to the business landscape—complex organizational structures, rapid globalization, new regulations, the struggle to innovate—that make it ever more difficult for CEOs to be on top of everything, even an area as important as strategy execution. Department Links. The chart depicts key business units and departments within each unit and may not include Strategy, Marketing, Risk Management, IT, Operations and other support ... Group Chief Strategy Officer Office of the Group President & CEO JEROME HON Group Chief Operations Officer • Regional Payments & SST Operations • Regional Trade Operations What companies should we consider acquiring? What is their mandate? (Even CEOs need to sleep.) The Fire Services Headquarters Command (HQ), headed by an Assistant Director of Chief Fire Officer rank to provide planning and management support to the Director as well as policy and logistical support to other Commands. Eighty-four percent of the top strategy executives who responded to our survey were internal hires; most of the rest came from competing companies in their industries. Chief Executive officer(CEO) 2. 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. You must sign in to post a comment.First time here? One could easily envision similar conflicts of interest for the CFO. When Snap appointed a chief strategy officer (CSO) in 2014, the move was widely noticed — and not just because the owner of the Snapchat messaging app had picked a banker who made his name advising on the massive initial public offering of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce group. Executive Director, Corporate Finance . 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. In the early 1990s-2000s, when modern corporate strategy was establishing a foothold, senior strategists did not have an individual strategy remit. But even more important for swaying opinions and conveying authority is having deep knowledge in two functional areas that are central to execution these days: technology and human capital. Clarifying the corporate vision for others can sound like a relatively leisurely activity, involving meandering chats in offices and conference rooms across the enterprise. Miles Interim Dean, 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. They do not emerge from predictable backgrounds with easy-to-map career paths or aspirations, and their skills, experiences, best practices, and preferences run the gamut. Nowadays, Schreiber says, the successful creation and execution of strategy requires not only good processes but also the ability to make quick decisions. Based on variation in the roles carried out by the CSOs, we have developed a typology of four CSO archetypes. Our research shows that top strategy executives work for their companies nearly eight years, on average, before being appointed to the role. A Chief Strategy Officer uniquely defines and executes a company's broad vision. 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 underperforming management teams, private-equity funds are often lurking, ready to make a hostile bid. Download the Office of the Chief Financial officer and Senior Vice-President organisation chart.. Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice-President. Strategy executives are charged with three critical jobs that together form the very definition of strategy execution. The key factor in all of these questions is alignment with company strategy. AIG’s Brian Schreiber wanted to be the “first call people made every time they had a new [strategic] opportunity.” That way, he could quickly get the right people involved in making a decision—calling on members of the senior team, for instance, or experts in functional areas like treasury and risk management. A chief data officer (CDO) is a corporate officer responsible for enterprise-wide governance and utilization of information as an asset, via data processing, analysis, data mining, information trading and other means.CDOs usually report to the chief executive officer (CEO), although depending on the area of expertise this can vary. 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. The execution of the strategy — ownership and responsibility for its implementation — resided firmly with the business units. Your CSO will use their expertise and knowledge on your organization to properly adjust your current strategies. Alignment can bend and then break if it is not continually reinforced. Of course, different companies have different strategic imperatives that influence the nature of the CSO role and the type of executive best suited to the task. To explore the role of the CSO, we conducted 24 interviews with CSOs at U.K. companies that are part of the FTSE 100 Index, across a number of industrial sectors. By the end of 2006, the firm had achieved dramatic growth and acquired several critical new businesses. 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. Group Accounting; Taxation; Treasury Chief administrative officer 9. Finding someone with the skills and experience needed to develop strategy, translate it for people across functions and business units, and drive organizational change is not easy. Schreiber’s experience, while impressive, is not unique. Therefore, he worked with the heads of Sales, Marketing, M&A, and Strategy Development to address stalled growth, identify attractive new markets, and formulate aggressive acquisition strategies. Leaders representing operational areas across the University report to the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. We rounded out the research with in-depth interviews of chief strategy officers from various industries and backgrounds. 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, CEOs are appointing “chief strategy officers”—executives specifically tasked with creating, communicating, executing, and sustaining a company’s strategic initiatives. There are clear short-, medium-, and long-term benefits for companies that name strategy chiefs—advantages that justify the added expense and complexity at the top of the organization. Yet, deeper exploration revealed many common traits in these individuals—characteristics that, taken together, help define a consistent, although often unfamiliar or misunderstood, role. He or she must be that person who, in the CEO’s stead, can walk into any office and test whether the decisions being made are aligned with the strategy and are creating the desired results. Immediately before becoming Campbell Soup Company’s CSO, M. Carl Johnson was the executive vice president of Kraft Foods, where he led the former New Meals division through a three-year transformation that helped the unit restore its sales and earnings momentum and significantly grow its operating income. Taman H. Powell is a lecturer in strategic management and innovation and director of the MSc Business Strategy and Entrepreneurship Programme at Cardiff Business School in Cardiff, United Kingdom. Some CSOs were facilitators, advising business units during the strategy formulation or assisting in the execution. Some companies, including AIG, Kimberly-Clark, Motorola, and Yahoo!, have discovered a way to fill the execution void: hire a chief strategy officer. The CSO has to be, in effect, the guardian of that space one to three years out, when the decisions made (or not made) today will show consequences. 5 free articles per month, $6.95/article thereafter, free newsletter. 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. Enter the Chief Strategy Officer. The Assistant Deputy Chief Management Officer (ADCMO) is the delegated decision authority and principal deputy to the DCMO. He could also ensure that the decision was based on a strong strategic rationale as well as a financial one. And they make sure decisions at all levels align with strategic objectives. The members of the senior team had been looking at the issue, in the words of one executive, through a “heritage lens.” Their shared history in the company was clouding their perspective on the need for change. The strategy management challenge has become more and more complicated, in virtually every industry, over the past decade. The second dimension of variation was how the CSO engaged in the strategy process. Account. In circumstances such as these, a CEO needs an executive near at hand to share the load and maintain—or regain—control of a process that constantly threatens to become chaotic. To follow through on their mandate, successful strategy executives employ a handful of high-level principles. By the end of 2006, the company had achieved dramatic growth and acquired several critical new businesses. This study yielded a database of more than 200 senior managers who fit the bill. The CEO is ultimately responsible for the vision and strategy of the corporation—so why hire a CSO? A strategy that is clear one day can become fuzzy the next as people and competitive environments change. Direct interaction with and feedback from the troops is essential for CSOs to keep their companies agile and their strategies flexible. The chief strategy executive position, then, is “a huge job” that should be filled only by highly accomplished business veterans. Indeed, a CSO’s long experience within a single company—specifically, his or her deep knowledge of the chief architects of the existing strategy and its history—can be crucial for building the federation necessary to enact change. Our research and many years of experience working with leaders in large organizations confirm that CEOs are formally handing the reins of strategy execution to individuals known by a variety of titles but with increasing frequency as “chief strategy officers.” In the past few years, the number of CSO appointments has surged. Other CSOs were enactors, far more likely to execute the strategy process by themselves or with their team. Clarifying the corporate vision can sound like a leisurely activity, but the reality is far more urgent. The chief strategy officer (CSO) is a comparatively new but increasingly important role in many organizations. There are good reasons for CEOs to delegate strategy responsibilities to another in the C-suite. Controller's Office Financial Planning & Analysis University Partnership Program. Copyright © 2020 Harvard Business School Publishing. 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. In the medium term, CSOs add value by building world-class strategy development and execution capabilities within the company. Take for example the classical Chief Executive Officer (CEO) role. Just as important, the CSO must make certain that those decisions aren’t watered down or ignored as they are translated throughout the organization. Our initial observation was that CSOs are, in many ways, as diverse as the titles they hold. But most CSOs consider themselves doers first, with the mandate, credentials, and desire to act as well as advise. Our investigation revealed that strategy executives are charged with three critical tasks that together form the very definition of strategy execution. By 2005, according to an article in Advertising Age, the “low-key, thoughtful, and almost professorial” Johnson had helped propel a turnaround at Campbell’s by pushing for innovations in products, packaging, and shelving and by supporting it all with investments in marketing. And AMD’s William T. “Billy” Edwards had a rich set of experiences before being named CSO in 2004, including time as CEO of Hesson Labs, line management roles at Motorola, positions with medical equipment start-ups, and nearly a decade with a top strategy consulting firm. The first dimension was the stage of the strategy process in which the CSO was involved. Post a Chief Strategy Officer job to 100 job boards with one submission. Innovation; Technology evolution is constantly transforming the way people interact with the world — raising their expectations every day. They haven’t run a whole company before.”. Then consider the nature of strategy itself. Public scrutiny of compensation packages is only ratcheting up pressure on both boards and CEOs to deliver results in a hurry. A newly appointed CSO recognized that growth would hinge on rebuilding the company’s sales pipeline, offering additional product lines, and repositioning its brand. Strategy chiefs must therefore be practical and analytical as well as visionary, Matricciani notes. Whether they are groomed or recruited, chief strategy executives must be able to work with and influence people across entire organizations and beyond; that’s the heart of the job. The reality is far more urgent, however: One-third of our survey respondents went so far as to describe their companies as “under siege.” Most characterized their industries as highly volatile. ), The CSO at times functions as a sort of “mini CEO,” someone who must see the issues confronting the company from as broad a perspective as the chief executive does, says Kimberly-Clark’s Black, who previously served as COO of Sammons Enterprises, a conglomerate with $27 billion in assets, and as president of Steelcase’s international operations. The following are some of the common C-Level titles: 1. Office of the CFO Organizational Chart (PDF) Address. Big Bang Disruption: Strategy in the Age of Devastating Innovation. In this article, three authors from Accenture share the results of their research on this emerging organizational role. quarterly magazine, free newsletter, entire archive. CSOs ensure corporate strategy gets translated into action, say Breene, Nunes, and Shill. CSOs also ensure that the capabilities they help to develop are implemented by managers and integrated throughout the organization. The COO or the CFO may seem like obvious resources to tap, but there are risks in delegating the oversight of strategy to either. So the CSO’s attention to this period underlines the unique perspective this individual brings to the organization. After the CEO’s six-month search for a strategy chief proved fruitless, he turned to his longtime colleague. Address. Finally, a CSO must drive decision making that sustains organizational change. That’s the traditional model, after all—vision, planning, and directives flow […]. Many CSOs therefore have long-standing relationships with their CEOs. “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. Stanford. CSOs of this type focused almost exclusively on strategy formulation by themselves or with their strategy team. Companies are adding CSOs to their management teams (or at least considering doing so) for several reasons. By nearly all accounts, strategy development has become a continuous, not periodic, process. They are seasoned executives with a strong strategy orientation who have usually worn many operations hats before taking on the role. CSOs consider themselves doers first, with the mandate, credentials, and desire to act as well as advise. The C-Level titles are the highest titles in corporations or businesses and are given to people who head divisions and disciplines. CEOs are tapping longtime company veterans with the experience and the social and political capital to cross boundaries quickly and effectively, or they’re bringing outsiders and their fresh growth perspectives into the C-suite. 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. The CSO assists and reports to the CEO, and to the CFO in some instances. And while in many ways IT is the bailiwick of the CIO or CTO, it’s also a critical domain for CSOs, because technology is critical to virtually every aspect of strategy—for instance, creating new products and services, developing new business models, and improving processes. Special Offer. A chief strategy officer specializes in creating and implementing an organization's short-term and long-range strategic goals and change management activities. Within months of taking on the role, the CGO became the CSO and analyzed the underlying causes of the company’s stalled growth, identified attractive new markets, and developed aggressive acquisition strategies. To make sure decisions align with strategy through all levels of the organization, top strategy executives must be comfortable working at 50,000 feet, 500 feet, 50 feet, and on down. 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. 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. Chief Strategy Officers (CSOs) face a number of challenges distinct from those faced by other members of the C-Suite—in particular, the breadth and ambiguity of the CSO’s role. What Makes a Great Chief Strategy Officer Three things every CSO should think about. content, All interviews were conducted either at the CSO’s office or via telephone and followed the same semistructured outline and set of questions. To help companies evaluate candidates, we’ve developed a checklist of some of the personal and behavioral traits necessary for the job, listed here in order of relative importance. Countrywide’s Matricciani told us that thorough due diligence on new products and potential partnerships helps her to be persuasive when presenting opportunities to the rest of the company (or when explaining why it should stick to its knitting). (In 2005, he was named AMD’s chief innovation officer. While this list is by no means exhaustive (although it is exhausting), it helps explain why more and more CEOs are seeking help with strategy execution at the highest levels. These CSOs carried out activities similar to traditional management consultants. Of course, simply having the CSO title can help: About one-fourth of our respondents said they accomplish their goals through direct authority. “I report to the CEO, and I sometimes represent his issues and concerns more directly when I need to. 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. One strategy chief we spoke with said he and the CEO of his company had worked together at three different businesses over a seven-year period before they both ended up at a health care management firm. Johnson had broadened Campbell’s competitive positioning in the market—from “soup against soup” to “soup as a meal”—thereby greatly expanding the range of the company’s offerings. These executives are not, for example, pure strategists, conducting long-range planning in relative isolation. At Cadbury Schweppes, Todd Stitzer went from being CEO of Dr Pepper/7 Up to becoming chief strategy officer to becoming deputy CEO of the entire company to finally being appointed CEO—all between 1997 and 2003. Boards, under intense pressure to add value themselves, are frequently pulling the plug on CEOs they deem ineffective. All rights reserved. How to Make a Chief Strategy Officer Fit into Your Organization By Don Tennant , Posted May 15, 2014 Patrick Stroh explains how the job of the CSO may depend on the needs of the CEO and the product structure of the company. Conant was confident the new CSO would help do the same for the soup company. “Money is made executing, not strategizing,” reported one chief technology officer, who is also responsible for strategy at his professional services firm. Artificial Intelligence and Business Strategy, How Leading Companies Are Innovating Remotely, Create “All our divisions have strategic plans, and I’m part of making them happen,” says Janet Matricciani, the head of strategic planning and chief strategy officer at Countrywide Bank. When decisions below the executive suite aren’t being made in accordance with strategy, much of the CSO’s job involves learning why and quickly determining whether to stay the course or change tack. “Half the time I spend with the CEO, [we’re talking about] people and cultural issues,” one strategy chief told us. The execution of the strategy — ownership and responsibility for its implementation — resided firmly with the business units. Half the job involves learning why decisions aren’t being made in accordance with strategy and quickly determining whether to stay the course. CSOs don’t just wait for the phone to ring. Chief Information Officer(CIO) 4. Nearly one-third of the CSOs we polled reported “very high confidence” in their knowledge of and comfort working in these functional areas; nearly all said they are at least “comfortable” with their level of knowledge of these topics. Organizational Chart Contact Us OCRO Internal Site (OCRO-only) Main Content. “No strategy can just be handed down to an organization,” says Kirk Klasson, former vice president of strategy for Novell. Organizational Chart; Organizational Chart. Consider the backgrounds of a few chief strategy officers. As a result, the primary focus of the job almost always quickly evolves from creating shared alignment around a vision to riding herd on the ensuing change effort. For example, your organization may have a strategy that no longer aligns with your goals. Yet there are times when an outsider is called for, particularly when a fresh strategic perspective is required. “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.”. Our findings identified a significant demarcation between whether the CSO was focused on the formulation of the strategy or the execution of the strategy. The demands and intricacies of conducting business in multiple cultures, time zones, and political or regulatory environments are exacting a stiff toll on globe-trotting CEOs. For instance, the top management team of one company held a consensus view that IT was an “overhead activity” until its CSO helped it adopt a new perspective: technology as a partner in and enabler of strategy. There’s no simple, step-by-step recipe for success in the role of chief strategy officer—but there are a few essential ingredients. All executives split their time to varying degrees across three strategy horizons—usefully defined in Mehrdad Baghai, Stephen Coley, and David White’s The Alchemy of Growth to mean extending and defending the core business in the short term (horizon one), building emerging businesses in the medium term (horizon two), and creating viable options for the long term (horizon three). “Someone at the center has to bring focus and discipline to the decision process,” says Kimberly-Clark’s CFO, Mark Buthman, or strategic discussions and initiatives will stall and business opportunities may be lost. CSOs of this type focused almost exclusively on strategy formulation by themselves or with their strategy team. As senior vice president of strategic planning during Maurice “Hank” Greenberg’s tenure, Schreiber’s focus was on implementing investment decisions and acquiring companies selected by the management team. And PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi was in charge of corporate strategy at both ABB and Motorola before being named Pepsi’s senior vice president of corporate strategy and development in 1994; from that role, she moved to president and CFO in 2001 and then to CEO in 2006. At tech firms, for example, senior leaders must be knowledgeable about every content business—music, movies, books, video, television—as well as the software and hardware needed to make them all work. And while a tiny fraction reported that they influence others through reflected authority—that is, by having the implicit or explicit support of the CEO—we know that the CSO’s relationship to the chief executive is more critical than that figure indicates. Most CSOs consider themselves doers first, with the mandate, credentials, and desire to act as well as advise. Nearly three decades ago, one executive arguing for the creation of a new top strategy role explained why it should not be folded into the COO’s duties. 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. Modern corporate strategy was establishing a foothold, senior strategists did not have an individual strategy remit the air. The office of the challenges at a range of interconnected businesses can tax even the most compelling is. Sign in to post a chief strategy Officer three things every CSO in survey! Competitive environments change supplier relationships facilitate the flow of commerce 2005 formulated a strategy that clear! To devote to it how global companies are adding CSOs to their management teams ( or least... 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