Chief Internet Evangelist of Google Vint Cerf
Apparently, titles like “boss” or “manager” or “supervisor” are so ten years ago. Companies now need something more to illustrate how cool and creative they are. According to Forbes magazine, there has been an explosion of professionals who are now known as “Chief Something or Other” at their place of employment. It’s not just a matter of offering a valued employee an impressive string of words in front of his or her name instead of a bigger paycheck, although that may be the reason in some cases; this is a way that companies are now reinventing themselves.
The article uses the examples of Chief Listening Officers at Kodak and Dell, Chief People Officer at Microsoft, Chief Yahoo at Yahoo and several others. They are often described as “vanity titles” that do nothing more than showcase the possibility that these companies have too much free time on their hands. Can you just picture the board of directors sitting around a conference table while one member suggests, “Hey, what about Chief Water Cooler Conversation Facilitator?”
If the goal is to give everyone a title, then the possibilities are endless. I have a few ideas to save these companies some brainstorming time:
Chief Auditory Officer — This person gets to decide on the music that gets piped through the phone system while customers are on hold.
Chief Facilitator of Cubicle Morale — This is a critical position of arranging regular social gatherings, whether it be coffee and doughnuts in the break room or a monthly dodgeball tournament, in order to boost a sense of community among the workers in your office.
Chief Electronic Forward Monitor — This man or woman must be prepared to be discerning and to read long lists of nonsense. Before any ridiculous joke, chain letter, or inspirational poem featuring a photo of a cat can be sent to every email address in the office, the person must approve the message.
Do you have any other “Chief” titles that should be considered by companies as additional ways to build morale and create the need to purchase new nameplates? Better yet, what is the ideal chief title for you?