Ever heard of an Idea Ambassador? Or fixed an appointment with the Master of Disaster?
You would be justified in thinking that no organization uses titles like these. But strange as it sounds, these are real, official designations. These & other new age designations are redefining ideas about corporate hierarchy.
Designations have historically been confined to defining the role you play within the organization and reflect where you stand in the organizational chain, but organizations are increasingly willing to open up to new designations that reflect corporate values and philosophy. A fast-changing business landscape has led to the emergence of new roles and newer designation titles have followed, but there are bigger considerations be made yet.
The choice of designation is becoming a tool of branding, setting the company apart in the minds of customers and even acting as an extension of corporate goals. Even the immense possibilities of drama, humour and creativity are not lost on the corporates.
The new drivers of business are also driving the naming of its human components. Sample these:
Human Code Inc, an IT company, turns to its Chief Acceleration Officer to search for ways to slash development times and turn the organization into, well, a faster company.
Ernst & Young, the accounting giant, employed a 20-something consultant in the role of Minister of Comedy. His job: to prepare videos and presentations for big client meetings that made the firm’s dry-as-dust work easier to swallow.
A fast-growing telecom company chose to call the receptionist at its headquarters the Director of First Impressions, to reinforce how serious this tech-driven outfit is about the quality of its customer interaction & service.
The fast (fried) chicken chain KFC was in the news recently for naming Aaron Person as ‘Chief Chicken Officer’. This person will be the spokesperson the company’s new Cook Certification Programme and this curious designation is intended to emphasize the quality focus of KFC chicken.
Here are some more titles (REAL) that have been reshaping the corporate landscape:
Chief Privacy Officer – AT&T (Previous Title: Chief Counsel)
The Truth – Myplay Inc. (Previous title: Project Manager)
Katalyst – Nike (Previous title: Category Innovation Director)
And if you are still wondering what a Master of Disaster does, he is also known as Director of Integration Programs at MapInfo Corp.
A recently concluded contest on our Facebook page provided such gems as ‘The Go-To Man’ (General Manager), ‘Lord of the Ledgers’ (Director of Finance), ‘Boss of Bargaining’ (Head of HR), ‘The Idea Powerhouse’ (Creative Head), ‘Baap of Salesmen’ (Country Head) and lastly, ‘COO’ker (as in pressure cooker) of the company’ (Chief Operating Officer).
So the next time you look at making a change, look beyond the conventional GM or VP. That (r)evolutionary title could well be the organization’s way of signalling your wider role.
It’s time for new name plates for on those cabin doors!