How to be a More Effective Chief Strategy Officer (CSO)

Challenging, the Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) role is. Use multi-axis alignment, you must.” – Master Yoda, probably.

Don’t worry, CSOs. We’re not here just to talk about Star Wars. Not yet, anyway.


*Although we highly recommend reading the story first for contextualizing the information, you can dive into the encyclopedia of content at the bottom of the page.

Multi-Axis alignment

As the Chief Strategy Officer, you hold a responsibility that lives and breathes coordination and collaboration. Unfortunately, you might be in an organization that stresses coordination and collaboration but makes them FAR from easy to achieve.

Enter multi-axis alignment, an alignment practice that is both vertical and horizontal, respectively. You’re the CSO. We don’t have to tell you about traditional vertical alignment.

However, horizontal alignment is critical for effective OKRs. More on that later.

With horizontal alignment, the Objective changes in your strategy. CSO’s are typically expected to strategize around an arbitrary top-of-funnel goal that’s tone-deaf at best. Instead, horizontal alignment encourages individuals and teams to organize around customer and company (or other stakeholders’) priorities. The actual goal.

Why are we telling you, the CSO, about multi-axis alignment? Let’s jump back into our Star Wars analogy.

You, the CSO, are a Jedi. Jedis are knowledgeable, disciplined professionals who can strategize several steps ahead. Jedis need their lightsabers — a weapon of choice powered by this energy called “The Force” — the same way mechanics need a wrench.

Objectives and Key Results methodology (OKRs) is your lightsaber. OKRs empowers you, the Jedi CSO, to align people and work toward strategic objectives. Your lightsaber, OKRs, is one of your most impactful and important superpowers.

How do you, the CSO, get your lightsaber in the form of OKRs? What is “The Force” that makes your lightsaber powerful? Multi-axis alignment.

No multi-axis alignment = ineffective OKRs = stress as a Chief Strategy Officer

No Force = No Lightsaber = Poor Jedi

Luckily, you are not alone if you dare to take on the great journey of multi-axis alignment. We’ve developed this encyclopedia-like page below, catered to CSOs who want to learn how to successfully drive multi-axis alignment. Each of the resources provides a unique learning perspective on OKRs, strategy execution best-practices, and alignment.

Resources for CSOs

How the Chief Strategy Officer Drives Multi-Axis Alignment

📝 Whitepaper

Great if you’re looking for:

  • An in-depth blueprint on driving horizontal alignment, in contrast to vertical-only models
  • Technical breakdowns on why traditional alignment systems fail
  • Collaboration best-practices that promote the horizontal alignment

The Horizontal Thinkers Roundtable: CSO Edition (recording)

📽️ Video recording

Great if you’re looking for:

  • Real feedback from CSOs who are challenged with multi-axis alignment
  • A conversational take on strategy best-practices from industry leaders

Live Benchmark Assessment: Chief Strategy Officer

📋 Survey

What this does for you:

  • Compares your strategic approach to your peers
  • Assesses strategy through the lens of organizational agility, cross-functional effectiveness and outcome-orientation

CSO OKR (Gtmhub Marketplace)

🖇️ OKR template

What this does for you:

  • Gives you a templated OKR specific to your role for you to adapt

CSO Alignment tree

CSO Alignment – visualized example

What this does for you:

  • Demonstrates how to aligned your OKR with the rest of your organization’s OKRs

“Dreams with Deadlines” CSO episode

📻 Podcast episode

Great if you’re looking for:

  • A discussion on the foundational ingredients necessary for unlocking enterprise value
  • Practical and, at times, prescriptive advice for CSOs
  • Feedback from a strategy executor — Dan Weikart, Director and Enterprise Agile Coach at Cprime

“Alignment for Adaptive strategy execution”

📜 Blog post

Great if you’re looking for:

  • The breakdown on what traditional alignment and strategy practices are
  • Why we say traditional alignment is outdated and hurting your organization

Funny (but weirdly accurate) Star Wars references aside, multi-axis alignment could be the best system you’re not using. Not only is the horizontal alignment component necessary for effective OKRs, and thus strategy, but it can transform how your organization collaborates as a whole. CSOs have a rare opportunity to drive more impact by making their jobs less overwhelming through multi-axis alignment.

We hope you find these resources useful, fellow CSO Jedi.

May the Force (multi-axis alignment) be with you.

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