The Evolution of the C-Suite, Part 3

The Evolution of the C-Suite, Part 3

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Part 3 of a 4-Part Series with Sandee Kastrul & Anna Frazzetto “How the C-Suite Combats Disruption”

Sandee: How do job combinations within the C-Suite of a larger organization combat disruption from the new perceived threat of startups?

Anna: Smaller companies are creating disruptions, like Uber. How disruptive was Uber to taxis? It almost forced the cab industry to be less complacent. Companies are starting to figure out ways that they can do better. But sometimes the changes come too late. For instance, the U.S. Postal System really missed the boat when FedEx and UPS came around. They eventually came back with their own version of overnight services and other options, but they obviously lost a lot of market share.

So how do you find that balance? Smaller companies are a little bit more nimble. They can look to the left, to the right and above them to see who is in the marketplace, then they can respond a heck of lot quicker. They can do that because they don’t have 2,000 or 5,000 employees. Smaller companies use outsourcing and consulting as a strategy, which gives them flexibility. A lot of them don’t necessarily have brick and mortar offices. They may have more remote offices in which everybody is spread out all over the place, therefore they can react as quickly as necessary.

I think that’s the key. I’m even starting to see more larger companies develop programs internally for the purpose of keeping their eye on smaller companies coming into the marketplace, so that they can learn from them. The larger company that’s not paying attention loses its agility. It becomes the 800-pound gorilla - not very nimble, not very flexible, and not very easy to navigate around. McDonald’s said something about learning from small companies because they’re so agile and nimble; that’s right on point.

Larger companies need to be reactive to the market because they’re losing. Larger companies have about 15 levels of approval that tasks must pass through in order to get something done, while small companies already have it done and took the market. How do you learn from that?

Sandee: I also wonder if the combination of CMOs and CIOs is like a dynamic duo. Is there another way of helping them become more agile in larger organizations?

Anna: I definitely believe that. Making them work together was the role of the CDO. For years, CIOs ran all of IT, then digital became the latest buzzword, so they were suddenly managing the digital strategy. Then marketing grabbed the bull by the horns and ran with it - it made more sense for them to manage the digital strategy because it had to do with marketing flair, outreach to the client base, product development and things like that. With the birth of C-level IT and marketing, friction arose between those two roles.

The birth of the CDO has forced everybody to pull together, because a CDO is responsible for the digital strategy. And they have to work with the CMO and the CIO. So, this added some gel to the mix, made it a little bit more cohesive. In the two or three companies who don’t have a CDO, CMO and CDO may be one role. When that’s the case, they wind up working together really well.

Up next week: Part, “The C-Suite and the Future”

In case you missed them:

Part 1 of a 4-Part Series with Sandee Kastrul & Anna Frazzetto “Introducing the Chief Digital Officer”

Part 2 of a 4-Part Series with Sandee Kastrul & Anna Frazzetto “The C-Suite - From the Peak to the Reality”

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About Sandee

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I believe that the definition of leadership is making opportunities for others. I am a leadership geek and find that the richest opportunities for all of our futures lie in education. I am a believer in reciprocity in education and that as educators we are both teacher and student. I believe that the world can be a classroom if we open ourselves to the notion that application, concatenation and liberation start with listening. Schedule Sandee to Speak

About i.c.stars

i.c.stars is a non-profit organization in Chicago for adults with a high school diploma or GED. Using project-based learning and full immersion teaching, i.c.stars provides an opportunity for change-driven, future leaders to develop skills in business and technology. To learn more go to

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