Four Tasks of the CPO

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In a recent edition of the Harvard Business Review, an article on What Only the CEO Can Do outlined the four tasks of the CEO who has to link the outside to the inside. They were:

  1. Defining the Meaningful Outside
    Which stakeholders matter most? What results are meaningful?
  2. Deciding What Business You Are In
    Where do you play to win? Only the CEO has the enterprise-wide perspective to make the tough choices involved.
  3. Balancing Present and Future
    The CEO needs to strike the right balance between the short and long term.
  4. Shaping Values and Standards
    Values establish a company’s identity and behaviors. If the company is out to win, the values must be connected to the meaningful outside and be relevant for the present and future.

This prompts the question, what are the four primary tasks of the CPO? Especially given the dozens, and dozens, of issues that the CPO has to manage on a daily basis? Well, they are very similar:

  1. Define the Meaningful Inside
    Most of the supply chain is outside … it’s the CPOs job to figure out what needs to be inside and how it’s going to be managed.
  2. Decide what Business You Are NOT In
    What products are not cost effective for you to make? What processes are you not first class in? What processes are not good candidates for outsourcing?
  3. Balance Present and Future
    It’s not about the lowest cost today, it’s about balancing value today versus value tomorrow.
  4. Focus on Sustainability
    It’s values, standards, ethics, compliance, social responsibility, and long term sustainability.

If you think about all of the things a CPO has to do, you see they fall under the above umbrella:

  • analysis : Business You Are NOT In
  • strategy : the Meaningful Inside
  • team recognition : the Meaningful Inside
  • innovation : Balance Present and Future
  • compliance : Focus on Sustainability
  • risk : Focus on Sustainability
  • technology : Balance Present and Future
  • sustainability : Focus on Sustainability
  • etc.