Where should strategy sit?

by

I was taking with one of my friends earlier this week about the placement of the Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) in his very large organization. I was initially surprised that she (the CSO) doesn’t report to the CEO, but instead into the COO. But once my friend explained that this particular executive is more focused on rolling out common processes and standards across their enterprise than she is focused on developing a strategic vision and executing strategic initiatives, it made more sense. Apparently all the visioning and even strategic execution is happening in pockets throughout the rest of the organization, and the people doing those kinds of activities stay very far away from this CSO.

So really, this particular executive just has an inappropriate title, a title that gives professionals focused on strategy a bad name, since expectations are set and not met. I’ve got to say, I don’t really see a true strategy officer reporting anywhere but directly to the CEO. Yes, a strategic program director or transformation officer could report to the COO if the Ops group is the central group that drives change through the enterprise. But the person or group responsible for visioning needs to have both the visibility and the autonomy to do that effectively. And that likely requires being outside of Operations.

So I got to thinking about what this all means for a technology organization within the larger enterprise. Specifically, IT or technology organizations with hundreds of people, can justify a role focused on strategy for their group. And CIOs sometimes wonder where it should live, especially if it doesn’t justify its own direct report to the CIO. Once again, I’d be very hesitant to lump it into any group more focused on execution (i.e. PMO, Operations, Development). It could be combined with performance management (i.e. organizational scorecards, not HR performance). The other likely place to put it is with the architecture group, assuming the architecture group is operating strategically, setting an overall vision, versus just defining standard technologies and processes.

READ MORE

Shifting Perspectives: 3 Learnings From a 3-Day Training

Shifting Perspectives: 3 Learnings From a 3-Day Training

About a week ago, I completed the second live (virtual) training in the process of becoming a Certified Professional Coach through iPEC. Once again, my mind was blown! It reinforced for me that virtual workshops can, and do, work, and, in a lot of ways, I prefer them...

read more
Finding My Work-Life Balance

Finding My Work-Life Balance

In my previous post, I told the story of how I got back into consulting after becoming a mom. All of the diverse experiences I had during that journey have helped me to find my work-life balance by… Defining Boundaries “Go home,” my first boss said 12 years back —...

read more
How I Got Back to Work After Being a Full-Time Mom

How I Got Back to Work After Being a Full-Time Mom

I Landed My Dream Job Throwback to 2014, I had completed my MBA, landed my dream job as a consultant, and was hoping that my new consulting career would exponentially ramp up my career growth for the next 5 years. This would position me to take on critical decision...

read more
Self-Awareness is Key to Belonging

Self-Awareness is Key to Belonging

In August of this year, as part of our annual company meeting, our team at Thought Ensemble participated in the foundational session of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training led by Dr. Nika White, IOM, CDE (she/her/hers). One of the most meaningful moments...

read more
Finding Your Organization’s Magic Pixie Dust

Finding Your Organization’s Magic Pixie Dust

It is often said that organizational culture is like a fog — it is all around us; it impacts our ability to see, to move quickly, and to deliver; but we cannot quite put our finger on it. Indeed, some organizations see their culture as a byproduct of operations,...

read more
We’ve Refreshed Our Brand!

We’ve Refreshed Our Brand!

Why have we refreshed our brand, you ask? Well, as we have grown and matured as an organization, we felt that our previous brand elements no longer represented us as well as they could. You see, we founded Thought Ensemble back in 2008 to help companies better compete...

read more
Thought Ensemble’s Purpose — Inspired in 2020

Thought Ensemble’s Purpose — Inspired in 2020

I recently wrote about how company purpose is being tested and inspired by all the events of 2020. This topic is very real for us at Thought Ensemble. We’ve been thinking a lot about what really matters as we’ve navigated the...

read more
How 2020 Is Testing and Inspiring Corporate Purpose

How 2020 Is Testing and Inspiring Corporate Purpose

In August 2019, the Business Roundtable rewrote their statement of corporate purpose. I followed this with significant interest being that I have never forgotten the debates about corporate purpose in business school almost two decades ago. We were taught that the...

read more
Why Purpose-Driven Organizations May Struggle With Change

Why Purpose-Driven Organizations May Struggle With Change

I love working with companies who really want to make a difference, beyond just making money for their shareholders. I mean, making money is fun and all, but it is even more rewarding to join in on a just cause. Plus, as this HBR article explains, companies who have...

read more