Who Should be Your Chief Collaboration Officer (COO)?

You may say, „sure, that’s the CEO’s role.“ True. But the CEO cannot afford to spend too much time on it. The CEO needs someone more dedicated to the effort — a Chief Collaboration Officer. So who should that be? We’re not proposing a new person — yet another (expensive) executive in the C-suite. We think that a current C-level executive should assume the mantle. Here are five candidates:

  • The current CIO. This is a perfect area for the Chief Information Officer to go beyond IT, step up, and take an enterprise-wide view. If you’re a CIO looking to broaden your role and drive value across the company, this is your opportunity.
  • The current HR head. Good collaboration requires the right incentives, performance evaluations, promotion criteria, and people development. So it’s only natural for the head of HR to take on the CCO role; that entails going beyond HR issues and working with others, such as the CIO, to craft a holistic solution.
  • The current COO. Of course, if your company has a COO that oversees many parts of the business, adding the Chief Collaboration Officer role is a natural extension.
  • The current CFO. Now, this is less obvious. Why get the numbers person on board here? Well, collaboration is first and foremost about creating economic value; it’s a strategic search for good cross-company projects. Many CFOs also oversee the strategy department, so why not add cross-company strategic activities to the portfolio?

Order of things …

„Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.“

(Douglas Adams, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy)