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Leadership

EPISODE

27

Bridging the CEO & Chief People Officer Relationship

Alex Seiler

Alex Seiler

22 minutes

May 26, 2024

Bridging the CEO & Chief People Officer Relationship
Interview Highlights

According to Worklife.news, it can take a long time, maybe up to a year or more, for a Chief People Officer (CPO) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to change how things work in a company.

The partnership between CPOs and CEOs is super important for a company to do well. But sometimes, there's a big problem because they don't understand each other well. Many CEOs see HR (Human Resources) as just paperwork and rules.

This misunderstanding stops companies from using their people as best as they can. It also makes HR people feel like they're not important. They might not get paid as much as other top people in the company. Fixing this gap in understanding is really important for making sure everyone works well together and the company succeeds.

Our guest today is Alex Seiler, an experienced CPO, startup advisor, and senior faculty member at the Josh Bersin Academy,

In this illuminating conversation, Alex Seiler shares invaluable insights into the dynamics of CEO-CPO collaborations.

 

Understanding CEO Expectations:

Alex emphasizes that CEO expectations for a CPO may evolve as they encounter real-world business challenges. While CEOs may have initial expectations, the true nature of their collaboration unfolds as they navigate through these challenges together.

CEOS need to adapt to the CPO's business-focused approach, which often involves holding both parties accountable and challenging conventional norms.

 

Building Trust:

Establishing trust forms the cornerstone of a strong CEO-CPO partnership.

According to Alex, this entails understanding each other's working styles, demonstrating capabilities through tangible achievements, and offering genuine support without merely conforming to directives.

Additionally, fostering relationships with the broader leadership team enhances trust and transparency within the organization.

 

Impact on Organizational Performance:

Alex also stresses building a trusting relationship between the CEO and CPO.

It creates an environment conducive to driving meaningful change and innovation. By delivering quick wins and addressing immediate challenges, the CPO can earn respect and leverage its expertise to spearhead strategic initiatives. Conversely, a lack of alignment between the CEO and CPO can lead to fractured relationships and hinder organizational performance.

Addressing Compensation Disparities:

Compensation gaps between CPOs and other executives often stem from a misunderstanding of the CPO's strategic role and insufficient market data.

Alex emphasizes the importance of CEOs recognizing the pivotal role played by CPOs in shaping organizational strategy. Implementing equitable compensation structures is essential for attracting and retaining top talent in the HR domain.

Future Opportunities for CPOs:

The evolving nature of the CPO role presents exciting prospects for CPOs to transition into CEO positions. By empowering CPOs and leveraging their strategic insights, CEOs can drive organizational performance and foster a culture of innovation.

 

Advice for CEOs:

Alex advises CEOs to focus on their core responsibilities and empower CPOs as subject matter experts. Embracing healthy tension, acknowledging limitations, and granting autonomy to CPOs are pivotal for nurturing effective collaborations.

Wrapping Up…

The collaboration between CEOs and CPOs stands as a linchpin for organizational success. By fostering open communication, mutual respect, and a shared vision, CEOs can unlock the full potential of their partnership with CPOs to navigate the complexities of the modern business landscape and drive sustainable growth and prosperity.

Official Transcript

It can take up to a year to several years for a Chief People Officer and Chief Executive Officer to successfully transform a culture, according to Worklife.news.

The collaboration between Chief People Officers (CPOs) and CEOs represents a critical aspect of organizational success, yet the severity of the problem lies in the gaps and misunderstanding between these two roles. Many CEOs and executive leaders still view HR functions primarily through an administrative lens.

This misalignment not only hinders the optimization of talent but also contributes to the undervaluation of HR professionals, exemplified by disparities in compensation compared to other executive roles. Bridging this communication and perception gap is essential for fostering robust and collaborative leadership dynamics that drive sustained success.

Today's guest Alex Seiler, Former Chief People Officer, Startup Advisor and Senior Faculty of the Josh Bersin Academy.

‍Alex, it's a pleasure to have you here today. Thank you for joining us. 


Alex Seiler: Thank you for having me, Felicia. 


During an interview, CEOs express what they're looking for in a Chief People Officer. Do you find that stands the test of time, once you're in the role?

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