Chief Strategy Officers ?!

Now here’s a thing – Bet you didn’t know that there are ‘Chief Strategy Officers’ out there [we used to call them Strategy Directors in UK corporations]! McK Q says they are turning up in organizations of all kinds as companies struggle to balance their short- and long-term goals in an increasingly complex and volatile business environment. It seems there are many unanswered questions about what exactly they do, and how. One question to consider is what skills, qualifications or professional standing these folks might have. We’d usually expect our CFO to have some finance training and a recognised professional endorsement – we’d even hope our heads of Marketing and HR to have pursued some functional training and be part of their professional bodies – so what training or professional development exactly does a Chief Strategy Officer have? A 10-class course in strategy from their MBA? Of course these guys and gals are likely to be very smart and maybe have picked up some good strategy skills along the way, but it’s a bit alarming that there is no recognised skill-set or professional body for what is a critical functional role in a corporation. [The less said the better about firms who don’t even see any point having someone focused on this role, just assuming that the CEO’s smart enough to make up strategy as s/he goes along!]

Of course, there is a professional body – the ‘Strategic Management Society’ .. but no strategy professionals ever turn up at its conferences, leaving the academics to chat amongst themselves – I wonder why that might be?

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