Monitor Deloitte: The 2021 Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) Survey

Corporate strategists unlock four new paths to growth

What is our strategy now? That’s the ask of chief strategy officers as a once-in-a-century challenge has placed some companies in survival mode while others have accelerated their growth agendas. Our annual report uncovers four pathways that Strategy functions can embrace to lead their companies into the future, expanding their roles into nontraditional domains, such as technology fluency, a 360-degree view of strategy, digital transformation, and corporate purpose.

Strategy as a corporate function: Then, now, and tomorrow

While the corporate strategy function is typically tasked with long-range strategic visioning and planning, in 2020, chief strategy officers (CSOs) found themselves rolling up their sleeves to help solve a series of short-term mission-critical challenges, from keeping plants running and the supply chain flowing to protecting cash positions and ensuring business continuity. For the corporate Strategy function, this dichotomy between short-term firefighting and long-term sentinel thinking has played out as one of the most critical dynamics to manage during the pandemic.

Now, as we enter the postpandemic period and beyond, the 2021 Chief Strategy Officer Survey findings show how the CSOs of today and tomorrow have expanded their typical areas of focus within their organizations, and how they have started to think about enhancing their capabilities in four nontraditional domains—technology fluency, a 360-degree view of strategy, digital transformation, and corporate purpose—to lead their companies into the future.


Insights from the 2020 CSO Survey suggest that the successful Strategy teams of tomorrow will operate with a focus on seeing around the corners and positioning their companies for sustained success, driving their organizations’ growth agenda in much bolder ways, and guiding enterprisewide transformations that will help build today the capabilities required to compete in the future. Download the report and read the 2020 CSO survey results.

VOLATILITY, UNCERTAINTY, AND disruption have become the norm in today’s business world. The ability to navigate these undercurrents and to succeed in these conditions are becoming critical sources of competitive advantage. As such, it may no longer suffice for Strategy groups to limit their impact to coordinating an annual strategic planning process that takes months to complete and that mobilizes precious resources throughout the enterprise, or to spending time working on internal presentations and Board updates, or to dedicating their energy and attention to “special projects” with little-to-no
strategic relevance.

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