2013 Chief Strategy Officer Survey – Part 4

Part 4/4: Who is accountable for strategic growth?

The Innovation Enterprise, an independent B2B multi channel media brand focused on the information needs of Senior Executives, and The Growth Strategy Co., the leading provider of growth-focused research, consulting and cloud-based software solutions, conducted a joint survey of the attendees at the Chief Strategy Officer Summit.   The objective of the survey was to establish the current state and future projections related to the practice of strategy and innovation.   The joint effort reinforces the commitment of both companies to equip executives with the tools and insights needed to increase the value and integration of strategy, innovation and growth-focused disciplines into the broader corporate framework.

The 2013 Chief Strategy Officer Survey is presented in a four-part series:

Part 1Strategic Growth Outlook
Part 2Strategic Growth Organizations
Part 3:  Strategic Growth Responsibilities
Part 4:  Strategic Growth Accountability

In addition to the four-part series, a full interactive dashboard presenting survey analysis, key insights and best practice recommendations will be available on The Growth Strategy Co. website beginning March 2013.

Part 4 Preface

Chief executives and profit/loss (P&L) owners have a plethora of other responsibilities that make it difficult or impossible to be singularly accountable for sustainable business growth. In many cases day-to-day workloads coupled with the uncertainty, structural change and complexity of the new business environment may threaten the availability of these senior executives to provide the necessary leadership on a sustained basis. As a result, the daunting challenge of achieving growth outcomes, embedding growth-focused thinking into the corporate DNA, and improving future growth prospects raises the fundamental question, “Who is really accountable for sustainable business growth?”

Growth-focused companies should be deliberate about identifying a senior leader that is accountable for growth.  It is not necessary, or recommended, to add yet another “C-level” executive to existing leadership teams. Specifically, an existing Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), Head of Strategy, or VP of Strategy, already has a proverbial “seat at the table”, and explicit responsibility to shape the company’s future strategic direction.  Beyond the traditional focus on annual strategic planning, and leading ad hoc transformation and strategic initiatives, adding growth-focused responsibilities equips the CSO to shape how companies achieve the explicit goal of delivering growth beyond their core businesses; and creates the environmental, structural and cultural conditions where growth can be sustained.

Key Findings:  Part 4 – Strategic Growth Accountability

In Part 4 of the 2013 Chief Strategy Officer Survey, Chief Strategy Officers, Chief Innovation Officers, Chief Marketing Officers and other growth-focused leaders were asked about their accountability for strategic growth.  From the results, several key findings emerged:

  • Lack of a dedicated strategic growth discipline. The new normal business landscape poses a question as to whether traditional approaches to strategy are enough to solve modern growth challenges.  56% of the surveyed respondents couldn’t identify a distinct growth strategy within their companies that is separate from traditional strategic plans or corporate strategies. The survey results indicate an opportunity for an applied strategic management discipline that is dedicated to the corporate objectives of achieving sustainable business growth and improving future growth prospects.
  • A Growing Need for a Dedicated Growth-Focused Strategy Executive. With the abundance of responsibilities that CEOs undertake, it is difficult for them to focus singularly on growth-related matters. Yet, the results show that 52% of surveyed organizations view the accountability for achieving strategic growth falling upon the CEO.  While the data is not conclusive, the new business environment warrants the consideration of companies to incorporate a growth-focused CSO or equivalent executive to help companies systematically and continuously achieve growth outcomes and improve their future growth prospects.
  • Accountability misalignment between Strategy and Culture. With the high level of accountability for cultural changes pushed to the Line Executives, there is a significant gap between strategic intent and the readiness of many organizations to adopt and implement those growth strategies.  The data further reinforces the need for a senior executive to have the explicit authority and resources necessary to build corporate capacity and change the behaviors needed to strengthen the company’s prospects for future growth.

To learn more, join us at the
Chief Strategy Officer Summit
San Francisco, CA
May 23-24, 2013

image credit: growthstrategy.com

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Growth Thinking - Emerging Markets and GPIWayne Simmons is an accomplished executive, innovator, value creator, and entrepreneur and co-author of GrowthThinking: Building the New Growth Enterprise. As CEO and Co-Founder of The Growth Strategy Company, Wayne leads the vision, strategy and growth of the company. He has worked for global advisory firms Ernst & Young, Deloitte Consulting, and has been a trusted advisor to C-level executives at Fortune 500 corporations, venture capital firms, and small and midsized companies. Wayne was trained in airborne reconnaissance for US Army Intelligence; and is an alumnus and Fellow of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Growth Thinking - Emerging Markets and GPIKeary Crawford is a results-driven executive leader with extensive experience in operations, M&A and finance for start-up, entrepreneurial and middle-market companies. As co-founder and COO of The Growth Strategy Company, she manages the strategic growth and vision, and day-to-day operations; and is co-author of GrowthThinking: Building the New Growth Enterprise. Keary was trained in Behavioral and Social Sciences and is a Fellow and alumna of the Executive Development Program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Wayne Simmons and Keary Crawford




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