9 Roles of a Chief Transformation Officer (Plus Skills)

Any good organization needs a strong leader to inspire and drive innovative change forward. A Chief Transformation Officer (“CTO”) is the role to do just that. A CTO can handle anything from large-scale reformation projects within a company to coming up with dozens or even hundreds of initiatives of their own that affect the entire organization. Successful CTOs lead by example and can be instrumental for widespread change throughout a company.

The CTO is a high-level orchestrator of a complex process that involves large numbers of discrete initiatives. Responsibility for making the day-to-day decisions and implementing those initiatives lies with line managers, but the CTO’s job is to make sure the job is done.


What does a chief transformation officer do?

A chief transformation officer may work with various individuals within a company, which allows them to have a diversified role. Some CTO duties may include:

What is a chief transformation officer?

A CTO is an executive who focuses on a companys innovation, its future and its ability to gain forward momentum through executive, personnel or technological changes. They work alongside other executives, like the CEO and CFO, to help the company increase its profitability, maintain its stability and compete in the market. Companies typically hire a CTO when it requires significant, long-term change, such as a complete overhaul of internal policies or products or complete rebranding.

Skills of a chief transformation officer

Chief transformation officers work with company shareholders, executives, laborers and customers. This requires skills in the following areas:

9 roles of a chief transformation officer

As a chief transformation officer, you typically fulfill multiple roles. Here are nine examples of the roles of a CTO in business:

1. Delegator

As a delegator, a CTO helps explain tasks and assign projects and roles to various members of the company. Through delegation, they can help guide the business toward positive change by redirecting individual skills or talents to specific tasks. For example, if a CTO is helping a company overhaul its bookkeeping methods, they might assign certain roles within that process to individuals with bookkeeping or software experience. This can help make changes more efficient and highlight the delegators role in the organization.

2. Customer advocate

CTOs are often advocates for customer needs, which means they focus on interacting with customers to learn more about their needs and expectations. A CTO might perform research or customer outreach to learn what customers want from the company and enact changes within the business that reflect those needs. A customer-focused business might attract new customers, increase its revenue and become a leader in the industry. CTOs can also help close the gap between shareholders, company executives and the customers to ensure that everyone aligns toward a common goal.

3. Innovator

CTOs are often the companys innovators because they typically look at modern industry practices, tools and products and compare them to the companys current standing. With a reference in mind, they can focus on updating company policies, products and tools to reflect modern standards and encourage an atmosphere of innovation in the future. With creativity and industry insight, CTOs can overhaul a business to become an industry leader with new technology and good leadership. They often anticipate industry or company changes, formulate plans to react to sudden changes and enact industry changes from within the company.

4. Storyteller

CTOs typically craft a narrative for companies undergoing significant changes to help align each of the companys leaders, employees and stakeholders toward a common goal. As a storyteller, they use narration to create a journey that everyone can follow and visualize. The story typically includes information on where the company came from, where its currently at in the industry and how the coming changes can help it outperform its competitors. Individuals may relate better to a well-crafted story and CTOs may find that a narrative feels more inspiring and motivating for the companys workforce.

5. Corporate architect

As corporate architects, they typically have a firm understanding of how people connect within the company, how external vendors interact with the business and how the business structures its leadership and development teams. This knowledge helps CTOs identify challenges in business structure and helps them retain some of the businesss original structure during significant changes. By understanding the business structure, they can gain more intimate knowledge of how the company functions versus how it should function.

6. Communicator

Possessing effective communication skills is important because they often speak with internal staff and outside vendors and customers. This can include having good verbal and written skills to respond to questions and requests professionally, and active listening to comprehend what others are saying. For example, if a company is overhauling its internal employee policies, some employees might have questions about new policies. The CTO can either provide an answer or communicate those questions to the leadership team or to others who can answer them.

7. Negotiator

A complete business overhaul can include negotiations from stakeholders, executives and employees. The CTO may serve as a negotiator and mediator, considering everyones needs and helping departments or individuals come to an agreement about specific changes or policies. CTOs can also help everyone understand how the companys changes can positively benefit them and what role each employee plays in those changes. They can also mediate between executives and employees to negotiate salaries and work conditions.

8. Policymaker

They often take an active role in reworking or overhauling company policies. This requires a firm understanding of how companies write policies, what policies the industry considers “standard” and how to enact policy changes. As a policymaker, they help to negotiate, draft and enforce new policies to ensure the business progress as a unit and avoids major challenges. CTOs may also use negotiation, communication and delegation skills to create better, more modern company policies that help motivate innovation and support an improved customer experience.

9. Analyst

CTOs help analyze the needs of the business, its current position and its future goals to create a plan to reach those goals. They might also analyze employee sentiment, financial standing and the needs of stakeholders to create a concise idea of what the company wants versus what it needs. They may also perform significant research into industry trends and standards and the history of the company to create realistic goals for the business and enact changes when necessary.


How a CTO can help an organization with change initiatives?

This executive oversees the transformation of every business process and anticipates changes and obstacles along the way. With this position dedicated to transformation, the CTO can drive forward momentum and hold people accountable across the organization.

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