Where Will You Find Your Next Strategy Role?

A person looking confused at a fork in the road with multiple signs pointing in different directions

The Role of the Chief Strategy Officer

While the CEO is the primary decision-maker and public face of the company, there is often another pivotal individual behind the scenes, shaping the organization’s strategic direction. The chief strategy officer (CSO) acts as a confidant and advisor to the CEO, watching trends on the horizon, analyzing data, and making recommendations to guide the company’s near and long-term strategies. 

CSOs are uniquely competent professionals. The top skills of a CSO include: 

  • Pattern recognition 
  • Problem framing 
  • Influencing without authority 
  • Strategic governance 
  • Aligning strategy to execution  

While these traits are common among successful CSOs, the specific roles and responsibilities of a CSO can differ greatly across organizations. Some are mediators between central corporate functions and disparate business units while others handle M&A, innovation, partnerships, and ventures. Some head corporate communications departments, others are charged with execution, and some even own portions of learning and development. Most CSO roles cover a distinct combination of these and other responsibilities. 

The Challenge of Finding a New Strategy Role 

Because their function varies so broadly in scope, when it’s time for a CSO to transition to their next role, they may feel unsure of where to begin their search, or they may face difficulty in finding the perfectly suited opportunity. This is especially true when strategy roles are limited, such as the current economic downturn when many organizations choose to focus on near-team survival over long-term strategy. Strategy leaders may feel lost, wondering where to turn to look. For this reason, we’d like to share the story of how one strategy leader – a member of Outthinker Networks – transitioned to a new role as an SVP of Strategy by leveraging the power of community. 

Member Success Story 

The member in question is a highly accomplished strategy leader with over 20 years of experience at the helm of some of the world’s leading technology and manufacturing firms. Her background includes owning P&Ls, driving business transformation and operations, leading mergers and acquisitions, and major strategic initiatives. Still, when her previous company decided to eliminate her head of strategy role, she found herself stuck in a dismal market.

Leveraging the Network

Undeterred, she tackled her job search head-on by tapping into her professional network. Armed with an updated resume and the launch of her own podcast, she took to the market. Through Outthinker Networks, she connected with other CSOs and executive search firms. She stayed on top of trends and technology advancements by attending thought leader roundtables and learning members’ cross-industry perspectives. 

She also informed fellow members she was looking for her next role. One of the CSOs responded that a recruiter had reached out to him for an SVP of Strategy role, but he wasn’t currently looking. The member scrolled through her LinkedIn contacts and found that one of her close friends worked for the company. That friend submitted her resume along with a recommendation to the hiring manager. Holding onto hope, she went through four rounds of interviews and a strategy problem.

Giving Back and Learning 

Meanwhile, she stayed engaged in Outthinker Networks, generously offering her expertise in challenge forums, where fellow members bring their most pressing strategic questions. During a roundtable on negotiation and persuasion with hostage and kidnap negotiator, Scott Walker, she gained advice that would help with negotiating her contract. It worked! She started this month in her new role as SVP of Strategy.

The Power of Community

This member’s success story serves as a beacon of hope for strategy leaders seeking new opportunities. If you’re an experienced strategy executive looking for your next role, Outthinker Networks can help. The Outthinker Fellows program supports strategists between roles whose background includes driving strategy in large, complex organizations. 

Outthinker Fellows network with other strategy and innovation leaders, share and publish knowledge, build personal brands, and develop and highlight communications skills through roundtables and peer challenge forums. Fellows also have access to career counseling sessions to reach clarity and take the right steps to find their next role. 

To explore becoming a part of Outthinker Networks and our Fellows program, get in touch with us here: https://outthinkernetwork.com/apply/

Outthinker Networks is a global peer group of heads of strategy, innovation, and transformation at $1B+ companies who are determined to move their organizations to the next level. Members engage in curated learning, practical conversations, and networking opportunities to be more successful in performing their roles, solving their top challenges, and keeping their organizations ahead of the pace of disruption.