C-Suite Collaboration Across Company Hierarchies

A strong argument for collaborating with non C-Suite employees.


When making business decisions, certain members of the C-suite prefer to go it alone, while others regularly employ liberal doses of third-party support. Most often, the employees closest to the topic of discussion—even those further down the company hierarchy—have insight that increases the chances of hitting a target dead center. (Plus, they appreciate being included in higher-level decision-making processes, which can be reciprocated with loyalty.) That makes a strong argument for CEOs, CHROs, CMOs, COOs, CIOs, etc. to collaborate with non C-suite employees.

However, there are risks-rewards associated with a collaborative approach, including the resolution of a wide range of operational concerns like the following: the business risks that might apply at the C-level, the actual—and opportunity costs—of collaboration, and the relationship between a particular enterprises' internal workforce and the C-suite. The main reward, of course, is a better business decision from a cost and impact level.

Having said that, the different perspectives—and even friction in the form of disagreements—that can accompany collaboration, ultimately serve to produce the best possible result. And the biggest question of all is this: At today's medium to large businesses, who should you turn to for collaboration? The answer to that question can apply to myriad businesses across all industries, so that's what we will address here.

Managers, Senior Managers and Directors

These folks offer senior educational/experiential backgrounds in a wide range of administrative and operations roles and offer particular knowledge of the internal worker hierarchy, including how workers positively and negatively react to company decisions. Since they have a pulse on the workforce's morale, they can help predict the sentiment of a workforce before plans are implemented.

Advertising/Marketing Professionals

Executives in this category harbor similar experiential backgrounds as senior managers; however, they are most typically associated with large-scale, project-based sales, promotion, and other customer/client-facing activity. When it comes to collaboration, they can help determine how your target market (and secondary markets) will react to brand changes, customer services strategies, new products and more.


Their category of work most applies to the finances and taxes related to large-scale, project-centric tasks. The senior accounting team is often well aware of cash flowing in and out of the company. Not to mention, they have an intimate understanding of project budgets and how project scope creep can break budgets. More than anyone, they can assist with cost analysis and budgeting, while potentially having insights on how transparent company spending affects the psychology of a workforce.


During the last two decades, administrative policies driven by state and federal laws have forced many companies to alter the way that they operate. This is particularly true of growth-oriented, mid-sized companies who could be targeted at a policy compliance level, but are too small to maintain large full-time, in-house legal staffs. In this case, interim senior attorneys are always available to offer counsel on compliance and laws that may affect business decisions, essentially reducing risks by making sure businesses do things ethically and legally from the onset.

If these human resources are sought out, committed to collaborating with the C-suite, and given specific requirements, they can undoubtedly help you reach positive, measurable results. They also provide you with flexibility, as you can replace resources as needed, while maintaining largely effective cost control.

Making the Case

While this discussion has been largely theoretical so far, there are numerous practical results to back up its assertions.

1. A major financial services firm supporting more than 50,000 clients through a network of offices throughout Australia engaged an interim CIO/consultant. The company's management faced a need to respond to changes in various regulatory issues, thereby triggering a need to alter customer perceptions regarding its brand, its business model and the way that its operations would behave.

While the engagement of full-time resources in HR, finance, risk, and compliance were already ongoing, the company felt that it needed to connect with an interim CIO for an outside opinion and to ensure that the firm's operations met requisite technical goals. At the end of the day, the successful collaboration resulted in the following:

  • A smooth overall technical transition to the company's new operating model
  • Support and advice to the CEO/CFO responsible for the new operating model
  • Little to no interruption of daily business activities across the board

2. A mid-sized hospitality company in the public sector required the design, integration and implementation of an overhauled enterprise infrastructure to support global hotel operations. The company engaged a mixture of insiders and outsiders in IT, sales, marketing and accounting who helped develop plans and systems for the day-to-day IT management of a three-year project.

This collaborative team contributed to the end-to-end management of a $2.2 million dollar voice and data system supporting executive and financial management, product development, QA, software production, shipping and receiving, sales, call center operations, post-sale support and customer service. The effort resulted in the following:

  • The establishment and maintenance of operational stability
  • An on-time and on-budget technical plan
  • Translation coordination throughout project implementation

As we can see, there are various ways that the C-suite can collaborate across a variety of work. Trusted advisors reside inside—and outside—the walls of your organization. And the vast majority of the time they're excited to lend their expertise and knowledge to your most critical projects, creating an objective win-win situation.

If you’re interested in learning how Adecco can be implemented in your workforce today, contact us here.

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