Today’s environment of intense speed and advanced complexity demands an agile organization, yet many Chief Strategy Officers (CSOs) admit to struggling with their ability to create agility in their organizations.


The role of the Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) has become an organizational necessity. But what exactly does CSOs do? To be sure, CSOs must lead efforts to execute strategy. But beyond this broadly defined mandate, the requirements for the role often remain only loosely articulated.


Today, organizations often must make strategic agility part of their corporate fabric if they are to respond swiftly and effectively to the ever-present threats and uncertainty in their operating environment. For CSOs, this may mean finding ways to create agility, so that their ocean liner-like organizations can maneuver through rapid course changes. To do so, CSOs must draw upon skills to develop and sell ideas, quickly translate them into action and maintain momentum.


Given their position as the leader of strategic execution, CSOs should be playing a critical role in their organization’s efforts to create and institutionalize agility. But are they ready?


Recent research suggests that many CSOs are not yet sure how best to fulfill their responsibilities in accelerating the speed of change in an organization.


IMCL is able to partner with Clients in shaping and crafting their respective corporate strategies in the following manner:


  • Kick-starting the ideation process by convening smaller meetings exclusively for that purpose—either one-to-one meetings with business executives or small-group meetings that include the right participants at each stage.
  • Using data on competitors and disruptive trends in evidence-based presentations to demonstrate the nature of a challenge.
  • Promoting change within the context of the organization’s broader goals and traditions by presenting information to support “why and for whom” as well as “when and where” to grow.
  • Seeking to establish flexible growth goals, so that the instability caused by change is not regarded as a threat to achieving rigid targets.
  • Embedding the strategic process into the organization by integrating key change measures into regular management reporting and ensuring accountability among executives.
    • Balancing the pace of change and the number of initiatives pursued against the organization’s ability to absorb change.
    • Using CEO sponsorship to give authority to their initiatives, and ensure that the CEO reinforces support throughout the process to maintain momentum.
    • Getting visible commitment of people and money from the organization at an early stage.
    • Maintaining focus on priority topics to avoid spreading resources among too many initiatives.
    • Developing and using conflict-management and persuasion skills to keep things moving forward in the direction they’ve set.
    • Connecting the measurement and performance reporting of initiatives with these processes in the rest of the organization to accelerate uptake and success.