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The move towards a ‘symphonic’ C-suite

The move towards a ‘symphonic’ C-suite

Rather than behave as independent C-level functional experts, the C-suite itself must now operate as a team.

'The goal is a symphony of specialised experts playing in harmony—instead of a cacophony of experts who sound great alone, but not together.'

'The goal is a symphony of specialised experts playing in harmony—instead of a cacophony of experts who sound great alone, but not together.'

There is a need for a ‘symphonic C-suite’ — a team-based, cross-disciplinary approach for executive teams to consider broader societal issues, according to the Global Human Capital Trends report from Deloitte.

In this model, C-suite members not only lead their own area of responsibility, but also collaborate with other functional leaders, work on teams that affect the enterprise’s strategic direction, and influence and inspire networks of teams throughout the organisation.

“In short, the goal is a symphony of specialised experts playing in harmony—instead of a cacophony of experts who sound great alone, but not together,” reports Deloitte.

Deloitte says executive teams at leading companies understand that working, collaborating, and interacting as a team is now essential—and are reorganising around this model.

“We expect this trend to accelerate as organisations begin to recognise that the symphonic C-suite—teams leading teams—is the most effective way to tackle the complex issues businesses face today,” says Deloitte.

The report notes most C-suites are just starting their transition to full “symphonic” mode.

Just over half (54 per cent) of the respondents in the 2018 Global Human Capital Trends believe their companies are not ready or only somewhat ready for the level of executive-team collaboration they believe is now required.

This year’s report is a wake-up call for organisations to look beyond their own four walls and reimagine their broader roles in society

Sonia Breeze, Deloitte

Deloitte says a first step is for the CEO to review priorities for each C-suite leader and determine how each can have an impact more broadly across the organisation.

Next, cross-disciplinary projects should be prioritised so that the C-suite members can form specific alliances and align their efforts to drive success.

“Executive teams need to put those cross-disciplinary projects on the agenda, not only for themselves, but for the organisation as a whole to increase the visibility of their collaboration to the rest of the workforce as a model to follow,” reports Deloitte.

Survey results also show companies where C-suite executives regularly collaborate are one-third more likely to be growing 10 per cent more than companies whose leadership operates in silos.

Despite being necessary to advance the enterprise, 73 per cent (77 per cent NZ) say their executives do not regularly collaborate.

“Organisations are increasingly being judged on the basis of their relationships with their workers, customers and communities, as well as their impact on society at large – transforming them from business enterprises into social enterprises,” says Deloitte partner Sonia Breeze.

“This year’s report is a wake-up call for organisations to look beyond their own four walls and reimagine their broader roles in society.”

“Integrating the C-suite to build a more social enterprise will be a differentiator for businesses to attract the right talent, drive customer loyalty and sustain long-term growth.”

The report cites some examples of the symphonic C-suite in action.

This can happen when a company transitions to a digital business model. A high-performing digital business aims to deliver its products and services to customers as an integrated experience.

To achieve this, says Deloitte, the chief marketing officer and chief information officer can work together so that front, middle, and back-office systems converge to provide a seamless customer experience.

When tackling the future of work, organisations need to redesign work and workforces to integrate robotics and artificial intelligence technologies, as well as capitalise on new employment models such as gig workers and crowds.

In this case, Deloitte says, CIOs and CFOs can work with each other and with business leaders, supply chain executives, and the head of human resources to pilot and implement automation solutions and redesign work around new platforms in a way that creates meaningful jobs, careers, and development opportunities for people.

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Tags automationDeloittefuture of workCIO100Sonia Breezehuman capital

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