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Why CFOs And CSOs Must Collaborate

Is lack of C-suite cohesion why your business is failing?

29Sep

In a world, where it often takes one seed-funded startup to eliminate a business with decades of experience, agility, strategic planning, and innovation strategies have never been more relevant. However, often, instead of practicing these initiatives, incumbents expand their C-suite with more CXOs, hoping that they will transform a company and protect it from disruption. As a result, too many companies fail to prioritize and understand which executive is a truly relevant addition and is capable of providing valuable insight, and who is essentially a waste of time and money.

So, since you may not have a Chief Ethics Officer (the one that tracks if a company runs according to corporate ethics), it's important that your C-suite is filled with the right people whose vision resonates with company's business goals and who can deliver measurable results. It's undeniable that an executive’s relevance depends on the industry, but in today's environment, time to market must be decreased and all strategies aligned according to forecasts and trends, therefore a Chief Strategy Officer is still one of the most important appointments a company can make.

The role itself is relatively new, and as such is sometimes underestimated. The formulation of strategies and their execution are direct responsibilities of a CSO, although, sometimes, processes may vary. For example, a CSO may be assigned to manage both formulation and execution only within their team, and in another scenario, they may act as advisors to other board members, in terms of finding the best business solutions, informing about weaknesses that may delay execution, and warn if there are any serious threats in the market or global environment. So as some may have external, third-party consultants to assist with problems, the CSO's role is similar, but internal, so the understanding of core business specific issues is deeper.

Being a CEO in today's business environment can often feel like a lot of weight on your shoulders, when under pressure to hit targets, leaders may find themselves making the wrong decisions or falling under the influence of their own subjective judgement. So in many cases, a CSO's strategic knowledge can provide companies with the time-sensitive statuses of current strategies, how to act if the company needs to pivot, and negotiate the relationship between your business and other organizations.

As with any CXO, in order to achieve good results, there must be a strong sense of collaboration within the C-suite. CFOs have been around for considerably longer than CSOs, but both roles are now essential in the constantly evolving business environment. Today it's nearly impossible for the CEO to handle the whole spectrum of business operations alone. However, even though CSOs and CFOs are there to work towards the same goals, they often have different visions, resources, and approaches. These need to be rectified and aligned in order to make sure they are genuinely working towards exactly the same strategic goal in the same constructive way.

The empirical mindset of a CFO coupled with the fast reactive and logical thinking of a CSO can ease the maintenance of business growth, where a CSO's duty is to spot the right opportunities, whilst the CFO ensures there is enough financial support for experimentation and formulation of new strategies. This internal strategic partnership can be the answer to many questions that leaders may be struggling with in a disruptive age. Thus, finding the right executive talent is vital.

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