The changing face of the C-Suite
Once upon a time, there was a CEO. They made decisions, they said what had to be done. And it was done. Today we are far away from this authoritarian rule and even the traditional leadership model of a few years ago where the executive team comprised all / some of CEO COO, CFO, CMO and CIO may soon be obsolete. Digital advancements across all industries are disrupting and transforming how companies work, compete and add value.
Leading an organisation has always been tough but with the pace of global change, a world filled with disruptive technology, customers judging not just on the quality of goods and financial performance but also on a great end to end experience and the company’s relationship with their workers, communities and impact on society, CEO’s are facing an enormous challenge. Combine this with an increasingly complex and changing workforce – 57% of all jobs are at risk of being automated in the next 5 years. In the US in last 5 years 90% of new net jobs were performed by off balance sheet work force (such as consultancies and freelancers) . Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2018 report surveyed more than 11,000 business and HR Leaders and indicated that only 42% workforce is made up of salaried employees. Technology allows workers to be based anywhere. Virtual offices, a desire of a greater work life balance, globalisation of business and an increasingly flexible and mobile workforce raises questions about how you manage, motivate and inspire the workforce to deliver the ever increasing expectations of the customer.
Even five years ago the C-suite each knew their role and responsibility and worked within their silo. This is no longer possible – roles are merging and new roles emerging . The CMO has to work much closer with the CIO for the customer experience. Deloitte have identified the need to break down functional hierarchies and build a more networked, team-based organization within the C-Suite as well as the organisation to enable the business to run as an agile network. In their 2018 survey, “C-suite collaboration” arose as the most important issue to affect the enterprise’s strategic direction, and influence and inspire networks of teams throughout the organisation, though 73% or respondents indicated it was not currently happening. They suggest that CEOs prioritise cross functional projects, getting the C-suite to work together and form alliances as the starting point of this. Is this actually possible or is this a fudge where ultimately no one takes responsibility for the customer? If it is everyone’s job, is anyone doing it brilliantly? Do new roles need to emerge as they are doing in some of the disruptive start ups – Chief Customer Officer, Chief Collaborative Officer, Chief Culture Officer? Some of this may be re-branding afforded by advancing technology – Human Resources Directors are increasingly known as the Chief Talent Officer or Chief People Officer to reflect the mindset that people are not a resource. But many are genuinely new roles to echo a new world – the CDO is now viewed as vital for an organisation to leverage their data for a better customer experience.
Add to the mix that a boardroom needs to reflect the diverse customer base and transform from a stubbornly white, male stereotype. In a world of conscious and unconscious bias and where even in FTSE 350 companies women make up only 27.7% of boards (up from 12.5% in 2010), this is not as simple as it sounds (source Financial Reporting Council). Diversity is, of course, about more than gender. Sir John Parker’s report, The Ethnic Diversity of UK Boards, highlighted the low level of representation of people from ethnic minority backgrounds in boardrooms.
Consumers are increasingly expecting business to fill the void left by politicians and do the right thing. How does the CEO structure his team to facilitate this so their enterprise adapts and thrives in a world where the development of IoT, AI and robotics means digital transformation is not finished, it’s just beginning?
We will be discussing some of these issues in our upcoming Seminar on “The new C-Suite challenges in an age of innovation & disruption. Session 1 –The changing face of the C-Suite”. In the first of our series “The new C-Suite Challenges” we focus on the changing face of the leadership team itself in a period of innovation and disruption. It’s clear that major changes in the structure and approach of leadership are required for businesses to survive and thrive.