This is part of the FirstRain Persona Series.
Many may not recognize the title, “Chief Strategy Officer,” as part of the C-Suite, as the role has recently become popular, but will recognize a CSO’s duties. People have come to know the CSO as the “enforcer”, or a “mini-CEO” because of their main focus: to implement the vision of the CEO and company.
No one likes to be the “tough guy”, but many companies have already recognized a need for a Chief Strategy Officer such as Deloitte, IBM, Citrix, Intuit, Cloudera, Oracle and Cisco. CSO’s are usually recruited from veteran roles in management where they have a proven track record of successfully leading teams. Often their titles are coupled with CTO, Head of Corporate Development, and VP of Strategic Alliances.
Today, the CSO works closely with the CEO and bears the challenge of rapidly implementing a strategy that will drive a company to meet end goals and objectives. They understand the importance of being able to influence and mentor people to meet industry demands.
So what does the chief strategy officer do? Some CSO’s act more like a strategist while others are “doers”, and others, facilitators, but regardless of their implementation style, they must effectively oversee the entire company’s strategic plan.
A top priority for a CSO is bringing cohesiveness across the company and making sure that everyone is on board with the company’s strategic goals. Not everyone is apt for change, but working together is necessary to effectively move a company forward. A lot of a CSO’s time is spent working closely with upper management to communicate clearly the next stages a company must make. Their message must be clear-cut and definitive to create an immediate response from these teams.
Setting concrete plans, and goals are necessary to meet long-term visions. With a dynamic list of priorities, a CSO must be mindful of change. In today’s hyperactive digital business world, strategies must account for market changes. Successful CSO’s are not reacting to market trends and changes, they are preparing for them.
Acting pre-emptively to threats, competitors and all the other bumps on the road, will be key to the success of the office of the CSO. Today’s CSO must leverage business intelligence tools that are responsive to market trends and changes and, therefore, able to focus on facilitating strategy as the company’s “Strategy Orchestrator”.
For example in the financial industry, a CSO might be responsible for mitigating risk and growth opportunities. They must be aware of mergers and acquisitions, competitors, global economic changes and especially disrupting technologies in FinTech. This can be overwhelming and can deter a CSO away from enabling a strategic plan. Enterprise business intelligence platforms are fulfilling the need of identifying risk within markets. Companies like FirstRain identify market trends and provide their users with actionable insights to better prepare for market changes, competitors and opportunities.
In Industrial Manufacturing, for example, a CEO’s plan might require rapid growth to stay afloat, and this will require a Chief Strategy Officer to work closely with Sales and Marketing to implement a strategy that will require sales teams to work more effectively. For a sales team to drive results, they must be supplied with technology that prioritizes clients and presents actionable insights for new opportunities that help fulfill the corporate strategy. CRM intelligence software helps prioritize tasks that meet short-term goals, mid-term goals, and successfully steers a company to growth.
Regardless of the industry, a Chief Strategy Officer plays a key role as a leader who understands the mechanics of getting things done. The role often demands the CSO to drive a company through market change, growth, or disruptions, but at end of the day, the CSO must be influential in facilitating change and bringing a vision to live.
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