The roles of Chief Strategy Officers are as diverse as the titles they hold. They are not pure strategists, conducting long-range planning in relative isolation. They are seasoned executives with decisive tactical orientation who have typically led major initiatives or businesses and worn many operating hats before taking on the role.
The number of CSO appointments has surged in recent years. Given the increasingly complex business landscape of today, a CEO requires executive support to maintain – and sometimes regain – control of effective leadership processes. Strategy Officers perform three critical jobs. Firstly, they clarify a company’s agenda for each individual business sector, ensuring that all employees understand the details of the strategic plan and how their work contributes to achieving set corporate targets. Secondly, CSOs must be able to drive immediate change. Their focus straddles driving alignment towards shared long term goals whilst mitigating short term hurdles to ensure effective change. Thirdly, a CSO must drive decision making that sustains organisational change. They must regularly monitor and measure Board decisions and their immediate outcomes, carefully rating their alignment with corporate strategy to garner desired results.
CSOs can make significant, lasting contributions to a company’s performance. To ensure success, they must wholly comprehend company dynamics amongst every tier optimise time allocation across their multiple roles and deliver results. Unquestionably, this is a demanding agenda for any executive, with the heightened reward of career acceleration for those possessing successful track records.