Welcome to the C-Suite

First of all I need to acknowledge my sources and credit CNN Business for the inspiration behind this blog. I read a fascinating article on their site last week about “changes in the C-Suite.” Here’s the link if you’d like to read the full article.

What’s the C-Suite? It’s the place where the top people in large American companies are found – the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer…

Now, there’s a fairly good chance that in your business in Yorkshire you’re the CEO, COO and CFO all rolled into one. Not to mention the CTM as well. (Chief Tea Maker…)

So why should you take any notice of changes affecting people with seven figure salaries and more stock options than you can shake a stick at?

Because changes in their world are a sign of the way business is going, and that means long term implications – and opportunities – for your business.

What were these new jobs that the big boys are going to create over the coming years? CNN Business identified seven:

CSMO – Chief Social Media Officer
CPO – Chief Perception Officer
CIO – Chief Innovation Officer
CCO – Chief Cloud Officer
CTO – Chief Talent Officer
CRO – Chief Risk Officer
CPO – Chief Privacy Officer

I’ve commented in several blogs on the need to engage with social media – so rather than go over old ground, let’s look at the next three on the list and see if there are any lessons for small businesses amid the titles and the expense accounts.

Chief Perception Officer – I can hear battle hardened Board members all over the county saying ‘What the hell is that?’

Businesses are now putting out more and more information. If you’re active in social media, you’re probably now commenting on subjects that you couldn’t possibly have commented on a few years ago.

But is what you’re saying in line with your company’s values and in line with what your clients want to read? How is it going to be perceived? And at a very basic level, is your spelling and punctuation correct? If you can’t be bothered to get ‘you’re’ and ‘your’ correct, why should potential clients think you’ll be bothered about their order? It’s not enough just “to put stuff out there.” It has to be the right stuff – and convey the right message.

Chief Innovation Officer – we all know the business world is changing. One illustration of this is the rapidly ageing population. If your business is based on consumer spending, how are you going to cope with the demographic time-bomb that will affect Western society? We’re all going to need solutions to new challenges, and innovation and technology are going to be crucial. Stepping outside your business and looking at it from a different angle – or getting fellow Board members to do that for you – is going to be ever more important. As is something as simple as thinking time. Maybe it’s time to buy a dog…

Chief Cloud Officer – yes, I know that’s just about as new age as a job title can be. But more and more information is being held in ‘the hard drive in the sky.’ This has cost implications, which I think are generally favourable. But it is also has security and privacy implications as well – which for a lot of businesses might mean a big administrative burden. (If you don’t even know what Cloud Computing is yet, go here and get a basic introduction.)

Big businesses have identified these trends and like it or not, they’re going to affect your business. Social media isn’t going away and neither are technological changes.

So starting now, make yourself aware of what’s likely to happen over the next few years. Combine it with your role as CTM – that is, make a cuppa and browse the internet for ten minutes (but not the football…)

I’d be interested to hear your views as well. What’s the biggest change, challenge or opportunity that new technology will bring to your business over the next few years?



  1. Anthony Day · August 20, 2011

    And what about those who can’t distinguish between “roll” and “role”? Ah, it’s a hard world!

    • edreidyork · August 20, 2011

      It’s a fair cop, guv! Good spot Anthony – I’ve adopted a new role of CSCO. Chief Self Chastisement Officer…

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