Surely you’ve heard of CEO, but maybe you don’t even realize that there are so many other terms related to executive positions like COO, CMO and CHRO, right? These various “Cs” indicate the most important positions that make up the C-Level of a company, that is, the positions of chief or chief , in English.
C-Level means the group of highest-level executives , the seniors in an organization, especially large ones.
They are the most influential executives and are prepared to occupy the strategic position they occupy within an organization. They are also usually the right-hand man of the business owner.
In addition to the CEO, which is the most common, we have selected some of the top C-Level positions for you to meet and assess if it’s time to raise the level of leadership in your company. C level positions
Why do these positions exist?
The more structured and sophisticated a company is and the more it has a market presence, the greater the need for high-level executives such as the C-Level to work.
They make high-risk decisions so that the operation can grow , reach new niches or manage to act strategically to overcome a crisis , for example.
In other words, the need to have a team of high-level executives arises when the entrepreneur feels that he can no longer do everything alone.
He realizes that he needs to have prepared, experienced and trusted people by his side so that the business can take new steps.
They are very present in large companies that have many operations, with which the president needs support, guidance, sharing the vision of growth and help to think about the processes of innovation or expansion of the business C level positions
what are these jobs and how do they work?
We started by talking about the CEO due, obviously, to the relevance that this position has within a company.
However, know that there are several other “ chiefs ” and, in addition to him, we have selected the most seen in the market, separating by their areas of expertise. Check out!
CEO — Chief Executive Officer
Generally, in many companies, the CEO position is held by the owner, director or president of the company.
But know that, in this specific case, there is a fine line that separates the assignments of both positions. The owner (or director, president) is, as the name implies, the owner of the business.
He is the entrepreneur, responsible for the formation of the company and it was through his efforts – and, in many cases, with the help of a partner – that the business began to take shape and gain the format it has.
The CEO, whose initials are Chief Executive Officer, is a kind of right-hand man of the president.
In Portuguese, CEO means “Executive Director” and he is above the other C-Level executives; He’s the one running the business. C level positions
This position usually belongs to the person who has the face of the company, who defines the strategies, what steps the company must take and in what ways this must happen.
Precisely because it is the highest level of an organization’s hierarchy, the CEO position is usually held by the owner himself, the one who founded the business.
But know that C-Level roles exist for a reason: to act as a partner to the president, helping him make the most strategic decisions.
Other CEO activities involve:
- to be the institution’s spokesperson in the press and in the community;
- structuring the organizational culture , as well as the company’s mission, vision and values ;
- hold meetings with shareholders and other directors to understand the progress of actions and understand their vision of the business ;
- to define the guidelines that must be adopted by the sectors, in addition to changing those that during the execution of the activities may represent a danger to the health of the company. C level positions
COO — Chief Operating Officer
Below the CEO is the COO, who acts as his right-hand man. The expression means “Director of Operations”, as he deals directly with the institution’s operation and focuses on these activities so that the CEO can think of more strategic ways to leverage the business globally.
The COO takes care of the operational routine and, therefore, is responsible for implementing and supervising the plans that were designed by the company with its team.
Therefore, the COO’s performance must be very tactical to ensure that employees execute the plan the way it was proposed.
CMO — Chief Marketing Officer
The marketing of a company is a fundamental sector for the business to grow in a structured way, as it involves several sales strategies such as attraction, enchantment and customer loyalty.
As it is an area that is a key part of an organization, it is increasingly necessary to rely on the work of the Marketing Director . C level positions
Mainly for a few years now, amid the explosion of social networks and the need to do digital marketing, the CMO has played a role as important as the COO.
He is responsible for implementing and driving strategies that involve the entire relationship with customers.
CFO — Chief Financial Officer
Here we have the Chief Financial Officer, another position whose performance is essential in a high-level institution.
Imagine if a company prepares the best plans, thinks about all the tactical actions and, when it comes to getting down to business, doesn’t have enough budget?
That’s where the CFO’s job comes in: managing the company’s resources , keeping the CEO and investors informed about the finances and, above all, about the existing capital so that the business can continue to turn and prosper.
In fact, this is usually the executive position closest to shareholders.
CHRO — Chief Human Resources Officer
This is the highest-level executive in the Human Resources area , a sector that has received increasing attention from large companies.
The HR Director usually also directs all internal communication, including, sometimes, even the company’s internal marketing actions . C level positions
Generally, the CHRO is more found in multinationals or institutions that have a competitive edge in their staff.
This professional’s mission is to develop a very sustainable HR vision that is successful both among employees and for customers and investors.
CIO or CTO — Chief Information Officer or Chief Technology Officer
These acronyms represent the positions of “Director of Information Technology” or “Director of Technology”, which are the executives responsible for the company’s information, technology and innovation area .
Its activities involve actions that guarantee the technological support in which the business needs to develop.
As we are in an era where companies are doing business more and more digitally , this role has been very strategic within organizations.
However, we usually find these professionals in large industries and companies directly linked to information technology.
CLO — Chief Legal Officer
In addition to the executive positions in the areas of operations, marketing, finance, human resources and technology, we have another very important C in the list of the main C-Level positions, which is that of the General Counsel. C level positions
This is the professional responsible for managing all legal matters involving the organization.
The CLO must ensure that all activities carried out by the company (and by all sectors) take legal issues into account.
It is a function that plays a fundamental role when it comes to preventing the company from labor lawsuits , involving environmental issues and many others.
So that there is no doubt, check out the infographic below with a summary of the positions and their main functions.
What is the difference between a leader and a C-Level?
You might be wondering what the real differences are between a C-Level and a functional leader if, after all, they both hold leadership roles, right?
It turns out that strategic thinking is the main attribute that defines a C-Level and that distinguishes one hierarchical level from another. C level positions
Leaders and managers are generally people who have grown up and become leaders within the organization.
In most cases, they are professionals who have excelled in their activities since the beginning of their careers and have conquered their space internally and occupied the position of managers, managers or supervisors.
A C-Level, however, is usually someone from the outside who brings an innovative background to complement the strategic vision that the company needs to reach even higher levels in its trajectory.
In other words, extensive experience in the corporate world is often a requirement to reach one of the highest steps on this scale.
So much so that in a survey already carried out by the largest professional social network in the world, LinkedIn , pointed out that the position of consultant is among the most common previously held by CEOs.
What characteristics does a C-Level need to be a business partner?
We talk about the extensive market knowledge and strategic thinking required to be a C-Level — regardless of the area — but these are not the only requirements. C level positions
One of the main essential characteristics of an executive director is to have good communication and relationship skills.
As we said in the previous paragraphs, in the position of the CEO, for example, he must be the spokesperson for the company.
Now, imagine if the company is represented by a person who does not know how to effectively communicate what needs to be reported?
High-end companies shouldn’t take risks like this, right? This applies to both internal and external communication.
Another premise of a good high-level executive is emotional intelligence . The challenges and responsibilities inherent to the position they occupy require a senior professional to understand and be able to manage their feelings in relation to situations. C level positions
Finally, another quality that we can highlight in executives of this standard is that they like challenges and take risks.
Keep in mind that companies don’t reach new heights if they don’t have the courage or don’t know how to risk.
It is very difficult to find great brands on the market that have not dared at certain moments in their history.
In addition, the desire for challenges and nonconformity are attributes with which the C-Level can infect teams to think in an innovative way, getting out of the vicious circle a little.
Entrepreneurs often need someone like that on their side to achieve the success they want but never knew how to achieve. C level positions
Remember that we started this article by asking if you are ready to raise the level of leadership in your company?
By better understanding the importance of the CEO’s and CHRO’s work, for example, we hope you have been able to understand their role in an organization and how they can be a really competitive differentiator .