- The COO of a company – the person who is supposed to be responsible for the operations of a company – is really the chief optimism officer in disguise.
- Optimism is needed in the workplace. The brain actually performs better at a positive state than a negative, neutral or stressed state.
- Kimberly Reed, CEO/founder of Reed Development Group (otherwise known as the “chief optimism officer”) gave her insight into the future of the chief optimism officer role.
The chief operating officer of a company – the person who is supposed to be responsible for the operations of a company – is really the chief optimism officer in disguise.
Chief optimism officer: It’s a new position born out of the pandemic that underscores the need for a “pivot to positive” within companies nationwide (after two years of negativity and conflict have overtaken boardrooms and office cooler conversations).
Teams might want to consider having a chief optimism officer to counteract negative thinking because performance and productivity rates rise when employees are in a positive state.
The chief optimism officer sees setbacks as temporary and to be overcome and never (or only rarely) sees setbacks as personal, inevitable and permanent.
Optimism is needed in the workplace. The brain actually performs better at a positive state than a negative, neutral or stressed state. It’s easier to come up with creative solutions to hard problems and think about the future when you’re optimistic about the present.
“Leadership and optimism are the two key elements the community wants in today’s unsettled world. Leaders must have optimism as the foundation for all their policies; and they must deliver it through sound, confident and stable leadership. Growth, employment, equality, innovation, tax, health, education, security all require this thinking. Communities not only expect it, but also deserve it,” said Robert Masters, Chair of the Centre for Optimism.
Teams take cues from the mood of their founders, especially the CEO. If a team’s CEO is positive and optimistic, everyone else will be more likely to feel the same way and feed off their energy. Being optimistic makes the team more productive, which makes the need for a chief optimism officer even greater.
Kimberly Reed, CEO/founder of Reed Development Group (otherwise known as the “chief optimism officer”) gave her insight into the future of the chief optimism officer role.
Allwork.Space: What new essential leadership positions has the pandemic created?
Kimberly Reed: The pandemic has dramatically altered the C-suite’s responsibilities — the very nature of their roles has changed.
Traditional, predictable responsibilities have been subsumed by new demands amid shifts in how teams globally work, what customers want, and significant changes in the outlook of various industries.
The pandemic era has cultivated new C-suite roles — the emerging role of chief remote officer, responsible for developing and implementing policies and best practices for working from home.
And chief diversity officers, though part of the C-suite in title, are not truly part of the inner circle, due to their reporting relationship and where DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging) is positioned on the organizational priority list.
There is also a rise in importance of chief people officers and CHROs (chief human resource officers). As the pandemic resets major business and work trends, CHROs need to rethink workforce, engagement and employee planning, management, performance and experience strategies. What new C-suite capabilities must be acquired to ensure growth and drive long-term value beyond the pandemic?
Agility is no longer an option: It’s a requirement for success. Creating new executive roles will help channel resources to key business imperatives, pressing problems and attract talent.
Allwork.Space: What is a “chief optimism officer” and what is their role?
Kimberly Reed: I would envision the chief optimism officer will work with senior leaders/business heads to create patterns that reinforce the positive.
The chief optimism officer will have the ability to envision a better future and they are able to inspire and motivate people to work toward achieving that shared vision of success.
The COO is not about flying blindly in the face of reality. Rather, they shift the focus of the organization to finding the positive in recovery, even in the most negative – helping senior leadership to uncover action-based solutions to turn around an emotionally strained culture.
This key role will encourage leaders to acknowledge the reality of the situation, to plan ahead, take action and work toward a better and more successful future.
Allwork.Space: Do you think we’ll start seeing more of these positions open up, or is this just a trend?
Kimberly Reed: The only role in my opinion that may be a trend is the chief diversity officer. Many organizations have created these grandiose goals out of competition in 2020, it will be interesting to see how companies fulfill these resolutions.
Rapid C-suite change was well underway pre-pandemic, there is a great sense of urgency to create the best roles for the organization to survive and win. Creating fresh executive roles like chief innovation officer, chief digital officer and chief strategy officer the most frequent additions I have witnessed helps channel resources to pressing problems and attract talent.
This wave of C-suite change is likely to be accelerated in line with the changing nature of the issues senior leaders face. With C-suites focused on business continuity and recovery, it’s easy to lose sight of the opportunity to shape the new normal that lies ahead — The C-suite must be prepared and ready to march on.