The 2018 Chief Strategy Officer Benchmarking Study

Researching the state of strategy and how CSOs create — or struggle to create — value for their companies.

Memo to the CEO: Is your Chief Strategy Officer set up for success?

Companies large and small continue to create the CSO position. Yet as desirable as this role clearly is, there are signs that it has yet to be exploited to its full potential. Indeed, in a wide-ranging survey of 187 CSOs across the globe, Strategy& found that only 25 percent of respondents felt they were “very successful” at creating value for their company. And in our ongoing research into the state of strategy, we find that 65 percent of executives across industries don’t think their company has a winning strategy..

This tells us that companies need to reexamine how to get the most from this increasingly critical strategic role. Getting this right is vital: In these turbulent times, companies need to make clear choices on how they are going to compete and win, and that requires building real advantage. Just “existing” — launching initiative after initiative to seek growth or trying to remain flexible and react to what others are doing — is a clear path to failure. Companies need to reboot the CSO role and strategy itself.

Read the full study report on strategy+business

Memo to the CEO

Key findings

Struggling to create value

Despite the potential for CSOs to make a difference, most CSOs don’t seem fully satisfied with their ability to create value.

Shaping the company’s agenda

According to study participants, the number one thing that would allow CSOs to create more value for the organization is to “get more in front of and drive change, rather than reacting to it.”

Clearly defining the CSO’s role and priorities

Most CSOs are stretched across many different areas and their role is not clear.

Improving the strategic planning process

The strategic planning process takes up a great deal of the CSO’s time: A huge majority — 82 percent — say that it is a “very important” area of responsibility, far outweighing any other. But most CSOs are dissatisfied with the output.


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Paul Leinwand

Paul Leinwand

Principal, Strategy& US

Huchu Xu

Huchu Xu

Advisor, Strategy& China

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