Why There Really Is Value In A Name

  • September 17, 2014 at 1:47 PM EDT
  • By Debbie Hauss
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Debbie head shotWhile most industry experts and executives agree that a focus on innovation, transformation and customer-centricity are key to a successful future in retail, there’s an ongoing debate about whether or not they need to assign specific titles bearing those terms.

In an exclusive survey report conducted by Retail TouchPoints, scheduled to be released on October 7, 2014, you’ll learn that many retail organizations are adding new titles to their C-level list, such as: Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Customer Officer, Chief Innovation Officer or Chief Transformation Officer.

The survey, titled: Changing Roles In Retail, will show that retail organizations are adding these roles with key business goals in mind, such as:

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ü     Creating more consistent cross-channel experiences;

ü     Gaining better insights into customer behaviors; and

ü     Improving customer loyalty.

But still others wonder whether or not they need to define new roles in order to deliver effective change.

In my discussions with retail leaders, I’ve found that actually defining the roles is valuable because it enables organizations to definitively emphasize the importance of the new direction, from the top down.

To grab that important buy-in from the C-level to the store level, business leaders and their teams must believe that the entire organization is standing behind the initiative. If a Chief Innovation Officer is in place, there’s no question that innovation is a vital imperative moving forward.

Not Enough Just To Give It A Name

Of course, there’s a big “But” when it comes to defining new roles. There has to be some meat behind them. They have to stand for something more than just the name.

For some time, analysts have been pondering questions like “What makes a good Chief Innovation Officer?” In a recent article, Forbes.com identified five different mindsets of business leaders and which ones make a good innovator/leader.

Capgemini’s Jude Umeh also has pontificated on the subject, noting that a good innovation leader knows how to connect people and ideas and introduce a “cool tech factor” into the organization.

The bottom line is: If you’re moving forward with a new direction and perspective, focused on innovation, transformation or the like, do it thoughtfully. Name the right role or roles, define the roles properly and be sure to assign the titles to leaders who will bring the organization to the next level. Good luck!

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