Evolving the CFO/CHRO to the Chief Performance Officer Role

By Nick Araco posted 10-27-2021 09:17 AM


Amidst the “Great Resignation, the War for Talent, the “She-cession,” and 2022 budget planning, the role of the chief performance officer (CPO) is becoming increasingly critical.

Performance is the key indicator of an organization’s health and success. With the exodus of top talent, the fight to retain and find talent across the board, and the moral imperative of cultivating a diverse workforce and inclusive culture, the CPO role is becoming a necessity in the C-suite.

But who should fill the position, and what are the needed skillsets?

In addition to companies hemorrhaging talent and missing the mark on meaningful DE&I initiatives, the growing financial crisis, globalization, and digital disruption continues to shape what the job entails. Over the past 18 months, the activities, efforts and discussions in The CFO Alliance Peer Advisory Network and The CHRO Alliance Peer Advisory Network confirm the CPO role is a natural evolution of both the CFO and CHRO functions. 

But, the CPO role extends beyond the traditional CFO and CHRO functions, and demands additional complex responsibilities over traditional finance and HR positions. CPOs are responsible for: a.) providing insightful and predictive analysis and reporting focused on delivering intended business and financial outcomes, b.) executing and managing internal productivity, processes and performance, and c.) ensuring 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.

The most suitable candidate combines:

  • business understanding
  • analytical acumen
  • technical knowledge
  • cross-functional strategic thinking
  • long-term capability planning
  • ability to drive transformational efficiencies
  • ability to manage inevitable people disruption

CFOs and CHROs must work together to 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 major hurdles to overcome – the first of which is driven by data, knowledge and information management. The key questions that must be tackled include:

  1. How do they harness the mass of data available to organizations now and synthesize it into meaningful, insightful and actionable information?
  2. How do they efficiently integrate the internal enterprise data with the vast quantities of data flowing outside the enterprise?
  3. 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?

As your organization navigates the CPO evolution, talk with AchieveNEXT about leadership development and achieving your next level of growth and performance.