Redefining the C in C-Suite

Redefining the C in C-Suite
Chief Executive Officer, Chief Revenue Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Operations Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Digital Officer et al. The number of C-Suite positions seems to grow every year, with each officer responsible for his or her own portion of the business.

At the same time, the need for working across functions has also grown as organizations try to quickly respond to changes in today’s digital world. Do a Google search on “collaboration in the workplace” and you will get about 62 million results.

The success of a company starts at the top. The entire company relies on the executive level to make the right decisions and take the appropriate actions to help a business grow and be prosperous. When each member of that C-suite team comes together to collaborate, it streamlines processes and keeps communication open and moving, an essential part in maintaining a successful company.

Someone once suggested that there be a new role in the C-suite: Chief Collaboration Officer. It is easy to suggest that one person step up and say, “Hey, let’s work together”, but can one person really be expected to be responsible for the collaboration efforts across an entire corporation?

If collaboration is so key to business success wouldn’t it make more sense to instill collaboration as a part of everyone’s responsibility, instead of placing it solely on the shoulders of one individual.

What if the C-suite became the Collaboration Suite? Let’s build collaboration right into the title – instead of being the Chief Executive Officer, the CEO can be the Chief Executive Collaborator.  The Chief Revenue Officer becomes the Chief Revenue Collaborator, and so on.

Title changes might sound like a crazy idea, especially when you are thinking about shaking things up in the executive level. But titles do matter. They describe what people do, and set expectations of what others can expect from you.

Consider the title “officer”. It is a word that implies control and hierarchy. It can make a lot of people throughout the company flinch just hearing that one of the C-suite “officers” is on the floor. Now, change that to the word collaborator. Collaboration implies communication, working together, listening and understanding. Team members will feel a much more positive reaction when hearing that the Chief Marketing Collaborator would like a word, don’t you think?

Research from Bersin by Deloitte predicts that rethinking how organizations are structured will be the number one issue for companies in 2017.  Organizations will become flatter, with smaller, cross-functional teams more closely aligned with the way work actually gets done.

So, if working together is essential to keep your company on course, make the right decisions, and create a successful business do you want your executives to be officers or collaborators?

Is your C-suite made up of Chief Officers or Chief Collaborators?


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