Chief Change Officer (CCO) according to BusinessWeek…circa 2008!?

Peter de Reijke docent Implementation & Change...
Image by Hans on Experience via Flickr

Human Resources: The Big Issues – BusinessWeek.

I recently came across this BusinessWeek article thanks to an online acquaintance of mine at the Lead Change Group. The BusinessWeek article is dated from 2008 and states:

“First, one-third of U.S. companies anticipate installing a head of change-management, with authority and standing similar to that of a chief financial officer, by 2015. The position did not even exist a few years ago, and today only 11% of executives say their companies have such a position. That [anticipated] growth suggests the importance of managing change at corporations.”

This article leaves me with questions…

  • Are we on track to achieve this metric as a change management / business transformation discipline?
  • Do we care about this metric or do we care about the change results?
  • Given the business environment is there an argument FOR or AGAINST this formally defined role?
  • Is this a separate and distinct role from all the other “chief” roles?
  • Why can’t someone perform this role in the existing CxO structure?

While I suspect that many of us can extol the benefits of a role like this (from an academic business value perspective), I would argue that a business case for this type of role needs to be made. Put your CEO hat on, why would you dedicate this level of funding at this time in business outside of an existing role? I see the role of CIO morphing into the CCO as described by the quote from above, and I would argue strongly that your company needs these kind of skills, just not as an additional CxO at the table. Challenge your CIO to drive change. They need to have the business and technology insight to lead your company to greater achievements. Your CIO needs to understand the business, they need to then translate the business challenges into technology solutions that return value to your company. Adding a new role is tantamount to covering up the “flat areas” of your existing CxO team, which might be the best approach in the short term, but also forces you to take on a new set of challenges. Introducing a new CxO to the board meetings sounds like a change management need to me!