Corporate strategy is a beast of uncertain provenance, in principle falling inside the bailiwick of the board and in practice inside the domain of the Chief. Against this background, the chief strategy officer CSO – a particularly 21st century job cuts an inquisitive figure. Certainly the CSO is a regarded figure – General Engines has one, as do Sun, Cadbury and Morgan Stanley yet it is less clear what the CSO actually does. An article that appeared in the McKinsey quarterly this May reasoned that the occupation was ineffectively characterized. Yet, essentially three jobs are conceivable: the CSO may be answerable for the generation, the facilitation or the execution of strategy. The CSO answerable for generating strategy is in the weakest position. Strategy is the center safeguard of the President and the board, and no successful President will abdicate her obligation regarding formulating it to another C-level officer. A CSO liable for originating strategy is subsequently in a delicate dance with the President: part guide, part idea generator, the person gives the Chief strategic choices and recommendations, yet leaves the ultimate course up to the President.
Operationally, this sort of CSO is liable for the corporate strategy department, yet may be weakened in practice, since the person manages a staff capability and usually a relatively small staff capability at that without P and obligation, and is hence completely subject to the Chief for support to be successful. The CSO liable for facilitating strategy is profoundly engaged with, and usually supervises, the strategic planning process. This job is transactional, rather than content-driven: the occupation of the facilitating CSO is, at least by and large, to guarantee that the strategic plan is conveyed. Their job may stretch out just to guaranteeing the interaction continues without a hitch. Ideally, nonetheless, the facilitating CSO will challenge the assumptions made by the organization’s departments so the plan finally introduced for board conversation is as thorough and stable as conceivable. Here, as well, the CSO depends on areas of strength for the public support of the Chief to be powerful, since it will be troublesome in practice for somebody without their own corporate fiefdom to challenge the plans created by business unit heads.
The job of the CSO liable for executing strategy centers on implementation with role of a COO in the workplace. Part of the job lies in communicating the strategy to the organization: here, since execution requires the understanding and cooperation of the two representatives and managers, the CSO will liaise intently both with corporate communications and with line managers. The CSO liable for executing strategy is also a regulator, confirming that achievements have been reached and implementation is on track. As an originator or facilitator of strategy, or where liable for strategy execution, the chief strategy officer can add value to the corporation in a variety of ways. Since the job lacks a typical definition, obviously, for the CSO to be compelling, the demonstrative support of the chief executive officer is a sine qua non.