Slayton Search Partners Explains the Rise in the Role of the Chief Strategy Officer

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. 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.
Confronted with trends in digitalization, globalization, ever more stringent government regulations, and increasingly complex supply chains and organizational structures, executive leaders are being pressured to continuously develop and implement more robust strategy in order to respond, adapt and get ahead. That’s where the role of the Chief Strategy Officer comes into play.
The Role of the Chief Strategy Officer
Traditionally, strategy hasn’t been perceived as a core function or skill, but rather as a capability or competency of the leadership team. Thus, corporate strategy has often been spearheaded by the CEO or the CFO, occurring on a periodic basis, with companies bringing in outside consultants to help guide their strategic thinking.
There’s a reason the CEO and leadership team of a company are typically the ones to create corporate strategy. They have the depth of experience, the insight, and the big picture perspective to determine avenues for business growth and sustainability. The resulting strategy might be spot on, but when passed down the line to managers and frontline employees, the vision frequently becomes opaque and inaccessible. And that’s the fast track to status quo. 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.
Enter the Chief Strategy Officer.
The job of the CSO, then, is to clarify the vision and communicate it to the masses in order to achieve and sustain execution of the strategy. Every business unit must share the vision and understand the gravity of the decisions involved and the discipline required to create change. Essentially, it’s about transparency and accountability.
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