“What does a Chief Happiness Officer actually do?” (A)
ASSIGNMENT: Find out which NFP mega-hospital system in your region has the most C-Suite titles and then develop a “reporting relationships” Table of Organization.
For example, here are some corporate leadership pages from New York/ New Jersey*:
*Hospital Presidents may or may not be included
PART 1. Chief Fourth of July Officer http://doctordidyouwashyourhands.com/2016/06/chief-fourth-of-july-officer/
PART 2. Is Chief Innovation Officer an oxymoron? Innovation is cultural not structural. http://doctordidyouwashyourhands.com/2017/08/is-chief-innovation-officer-an-oxymoron-innovation-is-cultural-not-structural/
PART 3. …the term “CEO” is not long for the world… we should do the business world a huge favor and decide, ahead of time, what term should replace “CEO”
“Everyone’s a Chief “Something” Officer. We used to run companies with a CEO, a president, a CFO, and a few VPs. Then we got COOs, CTOs, CMOs, CIOs, and CAOs. Now we have chief revenue officers, chief strategy officers, chief communications officers, chief performance officers, chief compliance officers, chief creative officers, chief diversity officers, chief visionary officers, it goes on and on. The C-suite can hardly hold all those chiefs and their giant egos. Better build a C-warehouse…
Corporate title inflation. Apple, the world’s most valuable company, has a CEO, a CFO, seven senior vice presidents, and about 70 vice presidents. That’s it. I know companies that are a tiny fraction of Apple’s size with more VPs. Some have several layers of VPs, presidents of divisions, more managers than workers, and every kind of Chief Whatever Officer you can think of. Ever heard “keep it simple, stupid?” It works for organizations, too. Organizational complexity kills companies.” (B)
“What’s driving the expansion of C-suite titles
Erica Seidel, founder of The Connective Good, a recruiting firm specializing in executive marketing, technology and analytic positions, says some of the new titles she has seen include Chief Customer Officer, Chief Growth Officer, Chief Data Officer and Chief AI Officer (AI for artificial intelligence).
Seidel believes the growing list of new C-level titles within B2B marketing reflects a growing professionalism and specialization among business leaders.
“The proliferation of these ‘Chief XXX’ titles is due to a combination of candidates having more clout than employers in a strong economy, titles being free, and talent managing their personal brand as they look ahead to the next step,” says Seidel, “In other words, candidates will often shape how their role is defined and in some cases ask for different titles, and get them as part of the negotiation process.”..
While there is no exact science to determine how the C-suite will continue to grow and expand, it appears businesses are more than happy to embrace new C-level titles. The most confusing aspect may be knowing exactly what the chief officer’s role is within the company as more chief-officer-acronyms are created.
To help, we’ve put together the following list of C-suite titles that fall outside the traditional leadership roles.
CAAO — Chief Applications Architect Officer; CAO — Chief Analytics Officer; CAO — Chief Automation Officer; CBO — Chief Behavioral Officer; CBO — Chief Brand Officer; CCO — Chief Customer Officer; CDO — Chief Data Officer; CDO — Chief Digital Officer; CEO — Chief E-commerce Officer; CEO — Chief Ecosystems Officer; CGO — Chief Growth Officer; CHRO — Chief Human Resources Officer; CIE — Chief Internet Evangelist; CIO — Chief Innovation Officer; CISO — Chief Information Security Officer; CITO — Chief Information Technology Officer; CKO — Chief Knowledge Officer; CLO — Chief Learning Officer; CMTO — Chief Marketing Technology Officer; CPO — Chief Product Officer; CPO — Chief Privacy Officer; CRO — Chief Risk Officer; CRO — Chief Revenue Officer; CSO — Chief Security Officer; CSO — Chief Strategy Officer; CSO — Chief Sustainability Officer; CXO — Chief Experience Officer (also referred to as the CUEO — Chief User Experience Officer). (C)
Another trend in title inflation is the actual growth of the title itself. Where three words used to be sufficient, we found hundreds of examples of Chief titles with four or more words.
Our longest title in the C-Suite was the Chief Human Resources and Civil Rights Officer role at Oregon Institute of Technology. (Suzette Yaezenko got the nod.)
Runners up for longest Chief titles were: Chief Corporate Communications and Development Officer; Chief Development, Marketing, & Communications Officer; Chief Facilities Design & Construction Officer; Chief Licensure And Field Experiences Officer; Chief Patient Safety and Experience Officer; Chief U.S. Pretrial Services and Probation Officer.
These more detailed titles indicate a level of specificity for the C-suite that is new in recent years. Whereas Chief Officer roles were historically broader with a purview across the entire firm, these very narrow duties combined with a lofty title indicate the importance of the role to the business or organization despite its smaller span of control.
So with that rather exhaustive review of the field, it’s worth asking: why? And why now?
It’s cheaper to give a title than give a raise. Perhaps the most cynical explanation for the ever-expanding grandeur in titles is the economic rationale. For a boss, giving a bigger title costs a lot less money than giving a raise, and may make the recipient just as happy.
We’re status-driven. It’s no secret that humans like to know where they are in the pecking order. A fancy-sound title feels like making it. The sense of having reached the upper echelons can be intrinsically rewarding. And beyond your corporate colleagues, it’s affirming to hear Mom, Dad — and maybe your siblings — be impressed with your new and lofty title… (D)
“Vint Cerf is called many things: a “computer scientist,” one of the “fathers of the Internet,” maybe even occasionally a “smarty pants.” So he wasn’t all that surprised when Google leaders Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt came up with a new, never-been-used title for him: VP and Chief Internet Evangelist of Google.
“They first asked me what title I wanted, and I said ‘Arch Duke,’” Cerf told me, laughing. “They said, ‘Why don’t you be our Chief Internet Evangelist?’ Anytime you get a chief something it is a measure of respect.”
Cerf says the designation is fairly accurate, as he travels the world speaking with others about Internet connection, investment, policies and developments. He often hears: “That’s the most interesting title I’ve ever heard!” It has, however, backfired. On a trip to Russia, Cerf was asked four times in five days if he believed in God. He soon realized that they understood the term “evangelist” as a religious preacher. “I’m Geek Orthodox,” Cerf replied.” (E)
“… Some companies like to craft new positions with fancy titles just in order to appear like they’re paying attention to a particular business function. Others use C-level titles to combat the shortage of high-level talent in sought-after fields. CEOs and recruiters figure that if they give someone a “Chief Something” title, instead of a more-traditional VP or SVP role, an on-the-fence job candidate might be more likely to sign on the dotted line.
There are definite downsides to making everyone in your organization a chief. First, it can easily slow down decision making. Give someone a grandiose title, and you increase the risk that a needlessly large department or sub-organization will bloom underneath them to justify their high title. Bureaucracy sets in.,,
Naming too many C-level executives can also muddy a company’s focus. According to this write-up on online-education site Study.com, for example, the role of a corporate “chief listening officer” is “monitoring both external and internal communications about organizations,” including social-media channels. The role’s “primary focus is on gathering information from customers and employees in order to develop ways for an organization to enhance their relationships with both.”..
Finally, C-level fever can make corporate cultures sick, too. If CEOs hand out “chief” titles like candy in response to every new business trend, how will that make everybody else feel? Whenever I’ve done this myself as a CEO, hoping to cement a great performer in their role, it’s just led to more people coming to me with their hands out, looking for their own shiny titles. Plus, the trickle-down effect can make an otherwise logical org chart look more like a bank’s, where everyone’s a vice president and titles mean little… (F)
“When it comes to job titles, we live in an age of rampant inflation. Everybody you come across seems to be a chief or president of some variety. Title inflation is producing its own vocabulary: “uptitling” and “title-fluffing”. It is also producing technological aids. One website provides a simple formula: just take your job title, mix in a few grand words, such as “global”, “interface” and “customer”, and hey presto…
Does any of this matter? Title inflation clearly does violence to the language. But isn’t that par for the course in the corporate world? And isn’t it a small price to pay for corporate harmony? The snag is that the familiar problems of monetary inflation apply to job-title inflation as well. The benefits of giving people a fancy new title are usually short-lived. The harm is long-lasting. People become cynical about their monikers (particularly when they are given in lieu of pay rises). Organisations become more Ruritanian. The job market becomes more opaque. How do you work out the going rate for “vision controller of multiplatform and portfolio” (the BBC)? Or a “manager of futuring and innovation-based strategies” (the American Cancer Society)?
And, far from providing people with more security, fancy titles can often make them more expendable. Companies might hesitate before sacking an IT adviser. But what about a chief scrum master? The essence of inflation, after all, is that it devalues everything that it touches.” (G)
“Left to the chaos of a non-standardized organization (especially with a decentralized HR function), everyone does their own thing (which is to give out titles without much structure or consistency). Then someone in the org runs a report, and discovers the mailroom services guy is an AVP (Associate Vice President for all you non-title inflators out there).
You know the drill, especially if you have spent time in a larger company. What follows the AVP of Mailroom Services discovery is a title standardization campaign leaving many (and I mean many) employee relations issues (hard feelings) as titles are stripped away and replaced by more realistic tags describing what the employees actually do (or as close as they can get).
Been through some of that – it’s always much better to provide a little resistance up front and make sure all in the org are on board before handing out inflated titles. Best place to start? No manager titles if the person doesn’t manage direct reports, and no Director or VP titles if the person doesn’t manage managers who have direct reports (multiple layers in their organization).” (H)
“Especially in big companies, Campbell says, too many title promotions can lead to cynicism about what these new titles really mean. “A company does need to be frugal. Not everyone can be above average. Firms should be deliberate about how they give these title awards out to employees, because each additional person who gets a C-level title dilutes the currency” of the title structure…
Stevenson offers one final explanation for title inflation. She wonders whether the people pushing for higher titles are “the same ones who, as students, pushed for ‘A’s and caused grade inflation. Now they are making it into the corporate world and they want big titles.” She recalls a psychological study that looked at students from 1970 through today and concluded that the more recent entrants into the job market are significantly more spoiled and self-absorbed than their predecessors. The people who are getting inflated titles, she says, “could be part of what is an increasingly narcissistic generation.”(I)
“Today, there are signs that the “CEO” title is losing its luster. First, many CEOs are tacking “President” and “Chairman” onto their business card, as if they felt that “CEO” wasn’t special enough. Second, there’s been an explosion of bargain-basement “C-level” executives like “Chief Marketing Officer”, “Chief Sales Officer”, “Chief Ethics Officer”, “Chief Environmental Officer”, and so forth. That cheapens the “CEO” title, just like the “VP” explosion cheapened the “President” title.
We must therefore conclude that the term “CEO” is not long for the world. Since it’s absolutely critical to the success of a corporation that the top executive feel as if he were a god among mortals (hence the obscene pay packages), we should do the business world a huge favor and decide, ahead of time, what term should replace “CEO.”” (J)
Some examples of C-Suite title inflation in health care:
Becker’s Hospital Review is pleased to recognize 32 chief population health officers at hospitals and health systems across the country.
The individuals featured here lead initiatives for their organizations focused on improving the health and wellness in their communities. Many of their efforts have served as models for other organizations nationwide, effectively working with at-risk populations to reduce preventable disease, manage chronic illness and overcome negative social determinants of healthcare.
As the role of digital technology has grown in hospitals and health systems in recent years, so too has the need for a dedicated executive to oversee all things digital…
In a health system, the CDO is responsible for overall digital transformation. Whereas a CIO oversees the technical implementation and operation of information systems, clinical systems, revenue cycle, analytics and more, the CDO operates on more of a cultural level, developing a digital strategy for an organization, fostering innovation and bringing automatization and other digital initiatives to the health system.
Though the CIO and CDO may experience some overlap in their roles and should certainly work in close partnership to further a health system’s digitalization, many experts recommend that the roles remain separate, rather than being combined into one position.
Tamarah Duperval-Brownlee is Ascension’s first chief community impact officer, which means she is in charge of helping guide the hospital operator’s new strategic vision to reimagine the best way to care for those in communities across the country. Duperval-Brownlee, a family physician, is responsible for helping Ascension pivot away from its focus on hospital campuses to better care for patients outside hospital settings.
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston has selected David Jaffray, PhD, to serve as its inaugural chief technology and digital officer.
In his new role, Dr. Jaffray will be responsible for the strategic design, acquisition, management and implementation of a technology infrastructure enterprisewide as well as data governance and data management.
The American Medical Association has selected Aletha Maybank, MD, to serve as its inaugural chief health equity officer.
As chief health equity officer at the AMA, Dr. Maybank will establish the organization’s Center for Health Equity, which will focus on ingraining the notion of health equity within the AMA as part of its processes, innovation and organizational performance.
The county’s dominant health system is creating a new executive position in response to safety violations at its flagship hospital.
In one incident, a cognitively impaired patient wearing staff scrubs walked out of Lancaster General Hospital at night and was found across town at UPMC Pinnacle Lancaster.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health report said after the Feb. 15 citation — the hospital’s third in a year — Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health president and CEO Jan Bergen called an emergency meeting of system leaders…
The report also says Bergen decided to create a new position of Chief Operating and Integration Officer to oversee all clinical operations, and a national search is being conducted to fill it.
LGH given 3rd citation in a year after patient wandered across town, by HEATHER STAUFFER, https://lancasteronline.com/news/local/lgh-given-rd-citation-in-a-year-after-patient-wandered/article_e65902ec-54af-11e9-8fbd-5fa1adbe8057.html
Wilmington, Del.-based Christiana Care Health System tapped Lisa Maxwell, MD, to serve as chief learning officer.
As chief learning officer, Dr. Maxwell will lead Christiana Care’s Institute for Learning Leadership and Development as well as oversee learning efforts across the system.
Susan Fuehrer, VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System director and CEO, is retiring from that job to become the MetroHealth System’s president of social determinants of health and health equity.
Fuehrer, 56, will lead MetroHealth’s initiatives to address the root causes of health disparities and eliminate barriers that keep people from accessing high-quality health care. Her job will involve engaging MetroHealth’s community partners to connect Clevelanders to health care with the goal of ending health disparities.
As Chief Clinical Transformation Officer at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ, it’s my responsibility to work with New Jersey’s doctors and health systems to develop innovative strategies that improve health care quality, affordability and the experience for our members.
Dr. Divya Paliwal, M.D. email@example.com
Kaylan A. Baban, MD MPH is Chief Wellness Officer and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and Director of the Lifestyle Medicine program at the GW Medical Faculty Associates. She is board-certified in Preventive Medicine and Lifestyle Medicine with a focus on holistic care and patient empowerment.
Dr. Baban’s research and curricular efforts address mindful provision of healthcare and digital health for prevention, patient empowerment, and optimized health outcomes. She currently leads a mixed methods evaluation of individualized lifestyle management for primary and secondary prevention of non-communicable conditions.
Dupuy, Maud” firstname.lastname@example.org
Cleveland Clinic has appointed Semih Sen chief business development officer, a newly created position.
In his new role, Mr. Sen will identify and drive new business opportunities, develop plans for new growth initiatives and build strategic partnerships and alliances. He will also head Cleveland Clinic Innovations, the commercialization arm of Cleveland Clinic.
Cleveland Clinic selects Semih Sen as first chief business development officer: 4 things to know, by Anuja Vaidya, https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-executive-moves/cleveland-clinic-selects-semih-sen-as-first-chief-business-development-officer-4-things-to-know.html
- A. What does a Chief Happiness Officer actually do? https://gethppy.com/hrtrends/what-does-a-chief-happiness-officer-actually-do
- B. Are you the Chief Me Officer?, by BY STEVE TOBAK, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/are-you-the-chief-me-officer/
- C. More C-suite titles join the upper ranks as CEOs make growth & digital transformation their top priority, by Amy Gesenhues, https://martechtoday.com/c-suite-titles-join-upper-ranks-ceos-make-growth-digital-transformation-top-priority-205607
- D. Title Inflation in the C-suite, by MARC CENEDELLA, https://www.ere.net/title-inflation-in-the-c-suite/
- E. C Is For Silly: The New C-Suite Titles, by Jenna Goudreau, https://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau/2012/01/10/c-is-for-silly-the-new-c-suite-titles/#78afec472a01
- F. Your C-Suite Is Way Too Crowded, by RUSSELL FLEISCHER, https://www.fastcompany.com/40556992/your-c-suite-is-way-too-crowded
- G. Too many chiefs, Schumpeter, https://www.economist.com/business/2010/06/24/too-many-chiefs
- H. Title Inflation in Organizations – When the Mailroom Guy Has a VP Title…, https://www.hrcapitalist.com/2008/03/title-inflation.html
- I. Chief Receptionist Officer? Title Inflation Hits the C-Suite, https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/chief-receptionist-officer-title-inflation-hits-the-c-suite/
- J. What’s the Replacement Term for “CEO”?, by GEOFFREY JAMES, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/whats-the-replacement-term-for-ceo/
**I am on the faculty of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai