The “C Suite” is an unofficial collective term that refers to the top executives in an organisation, also sometimes referred to as “C-Level Executives.” The name stems from the fact that these executives often have titles that start with the letter C, representing the word, chief. For example, CEO (chief executive officer), COO (chief operating officer), CMO (chief marketing officer), CFO (chief financial officer), and so on.
The terms ‘C Suite’ or ‘C Level Executives’ are also used by some to simply define the top decision makers within an organisation. Regardless of the title someone holds, those in positions of real authority, and responsibility, make up this select group.
Importance of the C Suite
An effective C Suite is essential for any organisation to reach its full potential. This group of executives will influence strategy and operational management as well as having the final say on key business decisions.
C Suite executives need to understand the day to day running of their organisation as well as working to proactively identify future strategic business opportunities and challenges.
Successful C Suite executives help a business achieve goals through their leadership and management. They will usually lead a team of technical and operatorational focused management who ensure that the business runs smoothly. As such a key part of the C Suite executive’s role is to analyse and improve that team’s performance. The way this is done forms the mould for company culture; the character of an organisation, both internally and externally, is built upon the practical mechanisms of management, which are in turn underpinned by the ethos of the senior team.
C Suite executives who fail to communicate a clear vision and set appropriate goals create inefficiencies and cycles of negativity which can undermine a business which might otherwise thrive. A company can hire the most able individuals, but if they are poorly lead then even a potentially excellent employee will fall short.
Role and Responsibility of the C Suite
The specific roles, titles and responsibilities of the C Suite will vary between different businesses and industries. You can also expect ‘trending’ responsibilities to come out of new/emerging sectors. For example, social media was barely recognised as a marketing channel 10 years ago, but now many online businesses would argue that having an executive with ultimate responsibility for social media performance is vital.
Small and medium sized businesses may not have lots of C level executives, however they still require a hierarchy of leadership and authority. Arguably, the smaller the business the greater the impact the senior individual can have.
As a business changes, the types of C level executive positions it needs may also change. As a business enters new markets, it may see opportunities and a need for someone to take specific charge over this new area of business.
Hiring and Transition in the C Suite
Finding quality candidates to join this select group is one of the biggest challenges a business can face. Failing to find the right candidate can have a significantly detrimental implication for a business. As an organisation grows, or as existing executives retire, there exists a central need to find those candidates that will lead and shape the future success of the business.
Hiring C Suite executives can’t be considered an afterthought once someone leaves or a new area of business needs leadership. It needs to be structured into the long-term growth plans of an organisation. Proactive hiring and proactive transitioning in the C Suite will lead to organisations to competitive advantage.
Edward Drummond and the C Suite
As an executive search firm, we have first-hand experience of helping organisations transition and make changes to the C Suite. Although this process can be a nervous time for the existing executives and stakeholders, through comprehensive research and networks, we are able to help introduce the right candidates.
Productive C Suite recruitment is all about understanding how to achieve business aims through people. If you’re interested in discovering how we can help you find your next executive, director or leader, then get in contact today and let us show you some examples and case studies of recent appointments.