In July 2015, the Harvard Business Review introduced the ‘G3 strategic leadership triumvirate’ of the CEO, CFO and guess who? Not the COO or CMO but the chief people and culture officer (CPCO). As the CFO raises and allocates financial capital so the CPCO develops and assigns key human capital. Without the right people and financing no strategy can succeed; no business can compete!

Post pandemic we know the best talent will be reviewing their career options. Be it the Great Resignation or Great Reset, organisations with a strong vision and purpose, backed by lived values, then delivered via strong practices and leadership, will retain and attract the best. Superannuation funds may have a strong vision and purpose but must deliver on their culture in a hyper-competitive talent market. Top talent seeks out the best not the rest!  Enter our CPCO who guides their organisations in the Great Retention struggle.

In conversations with super and wealth sector CPCOs, they see their future roles becoming even more strategic and commercial in building organisational capabilities and capacities to deal with greater competition. Our CPCO knows that executing different growth or transformation plans starts with refreshing their executive teams.  Will they become a future chief competition officer?

In this future leader series, we have met our super hero CEO with their 4Cs, our conductor CIO and their 4Rs, our CRO aka chief reputation officer and their 4Ss, and our ninja CMO with their 5Ms. Let’s now meet our future CPCO who will deal with the 5Ps of purpose, practice, prose, place and, of course, people.

The 5Ps – purpose, practices, prose, place and people

Purpose:  A strong purpose driven organisation will have developed its vision and values to underpin its culture.  Our CPCO knows values are at the core of culture. Read any value statement and they all speak of employees, clients, strong probity so nothing is new.  It is their authenticity, the actions not the words that count.

Purpose should focus all decision making, have alignment with all stakeholders, including customers. A well-defined and articulated purpose and vision statement can be attractive to customers. Nonprofits do vision well. Oxfam envisions “a just world without poverty”. They think big! Could super funds think bigger by ‘assisting our members dreams become reality’?

Practices: This is where the organisation gets to walk the talk on values.  If “people are our greatest asset,” so the career and succession planning, mentoring and coaching, KPIs and rewards must be aligned. The commercial CPCO knows a strong employee experience leads to better customer outcomes.

With the quality of leadership under scrutiny during the pandemic, our CPCO will need to ensure a robust leadership culture. This is now a top agenda item for all boards as poor leadership is obviously a reputation risk but also severely culture damaging.

Prose – Storytelling is as old as the tribal campfire. Stories retold over time gives the tribe meaning. The Vikings had the sagas, the ancients Greeks had their plays and poems.  All organizations have history when shaped into strong stories contributes to culture.  Some use heritage marketing concepts such as museums e.g. BMW Welt and Coke. Our CPCO will enhance their organisation’s culture via story development and presentation.

Place: The world’s leading employers put great thought into their office designs from standalone campuses to aesthetics.  Our CPCO, as the culture champion, will be onto the design of the future workplace.  If we value collaboration, creativity and open feedback then lots of open spaces for interaction will be the norm.  Likewise fully embracing the distributed office will be expected by the best talent. This is where values come to life.

People: We know our people build our culture so we need the right people joining.  Research shows cultural fit is more important than ideal role fit.  The best firms are rigorous at assessing for talent and culture fit. Higher cultural alignment results in lower turnover. Inclusivity allows everyone to be fully valued and maximizing their potential. Our CPCO will develop the right “culture carriers” to create and reinforce the desired culture.

A business doesn’t build value, people do!  Hence the best value comes from the best people. Our future CPCO will be a key talent nurturer, masterful leadership coach, values owner, and will continue their quest of building a successful, well recognised culture that drives their organisation’s winning employee value proposition. Their special talents of chief people whisperer and culture champion will anoint them as chief competition officer and a valued member of the leadership triumvirate as HBR predicted.

Join the discussion