The activities, efforts and discussions in both The CFO Alliance Peer Advisory Network
and The CHRO Alliance Peer Advisory Network
over the first seven weeks of 2021 confirm for me that the role of the chief performance officer (CPO) is a natural evolution of both the CFO and CHRO roles. Given all of what 2020-2021 has forced upon finance and HR leaders, their c-suite colleagues and their enterprises, CFOs and CHROs have to focus much more on the key business drivers and information flows that help predict business performance quickly and consistently, than ever before. In addition, advances in digital capability and disruptive technologies are challenging fundamental norms in many businesses, industries and markets, and this evolution of both the CFO and CHRO roles are becoming more necessary.
Let's confirm first what this role entails before deciding who is best-suited to step into it. This CPO role extends beyond the traditional CFO and CHRO skill-set and demands additional complex responsibilities, as it contains traditional finance and HR responsibilities along with requirements of the enterprise strategic agenda and the need to: (1) provide insightful and predictive analysis and reporting focused on delivering intended business and financial outcomes, (2) execute and manage the internal productivity, processes and performance, and (3) ensure that requisite capital is available and correctly allocated to the business to support its current and future direction, in a rapidly-changing and volatile environment.
As this CPO role stretches into productivity and driving transformational efficiencies, there will be a real need for finance and HR to deal with the inevitable people disruption which such efforts cause. CFOs and CHROs must ensure that the short and long-term skills and capabilities needed to drive the business forward are available, as and when required.
Whoever steps into this CPO role will face a number of major hurdles to overcome – the first of which is driven by data, knowledge and information management. The key questions that must be tackled include:
- How do they harness the mass of data now available to organizations and synthesize this data into meaningful, insightful and actionable information?
- How do they efficiently integrate the internal enterprise data with the vast quantities of data flowing outside the enterprise?
- How do they become the internal data-information-knowledge champion and an effective provider of insights when each executive and functional leader will feel the right to own their portion of the data?
I am confident that if we accelerate discussions on this (r)evolution, now, with our peers in our Networks, that finance and HR leaders, their teams and enterprises can drive this (r)evolution forward, with purpose and commitment to achieving the next level of growth and performance. Who's with me? @Tom Stewart, @Milton Corsey.