What is a Chief Growth Officer (CGO)? Description & overview

In today's fast-paced market dynamics, the CEO of a start-up or scale-up, or even an established enterprise is busy running the business at the cost of building the business. This is why in the last 5 years we see a new function emerge in the C-Suite. Companies that have added the CGO role to the C-Suite include Coca-Cola, Binance, Ab-InBev, Arcadis, KPMG and Deloitte.

The CGO is tasked full-time with not only growing the company but also building all the systems in a repeatable and scalable way that keeps accelerating sustained growth in an exponential way. Growing in transactions, but also revenue growth. The main way to realize this business growth is to develop new growth initiatives  

The CGO vs. the Chief Marketing Officer

When your company had a CEO and a CMO, so why should you hire a CGO? Growth in a company is much more than marketing. Sales, Product, Service, R&D, Account Management, acquiring enough people to facilitate growth, creating processes over departments, documenting learning’s discovering unmet needs. 

The main problem why companies don’t grow faster is because silos will emerge when more control is needed. Silos unfortunately will not help you in keeping people aligned on growth. In keeping the growth process agile.

“A Chief Growth Officer must make sure that people are not only working in the company but also working on the company. Creating processes, rhythm, tools, methods and habits to facilitate people to make it more easy and rewarding to create growth acceleration.”

Robert van Geenhuizen 
Chief Growth Officer & Founder MindMasters 


The Chief Growth Officer’s job description

  • Set the right growth goals
    Set them on a company level and translate them to the different departments, like sales, marketing, product, business development, etc. Ensuring the right OKRs that will be driving growth. 
  • Discover and prioritize strategic growth opportunities
    Discover market trends, find unmet needs, etc. Using methods like Jobs-To-Be-Done. Find the core abilities that will enable 10x exponential growth for your company. The core abilities are scalable and repeatable. 
  • Create strategies around these opportunities 
  • Form ideas, without being hindered by thinking from one discipline, how to achieve durable results from the growth opportunities.
  • Creating internal alignment, breaking departmental silos (holistic approach)
    Forming a growth team, leading the team, convening people and getting them aligned, making sure all disciplines strengthen each other. 
  • Creating rhythm and organizing processes in an agile way
    Make sure there are systems and processes in place that facilitate growth. Creating a backlog, doing growth sprints and meetups with the growth team. Based on learnings, processes, and tools and must facilitate change, agility is key.
  • Facilitate people
    With the best tools, conditions and knowledge to work on growth effective
  • Track progress, always viewing the activities in a bigger picture
    Have an eye for details, but also able to switch to the big picture. 
  • Collect lessons and successful growth tactics throughout the organization
    Share, collect, and make sure the adoption of best practices is optimum. 
  • Enabling Digital Transformations
    Continues searching and finding better ways to digitize processes with better tools. Enabling people to adopt them effectively and replacing outdated (non)digital processes.


Some must-have qualities:

  • Strategy (thinking) and fast translation in doing
    Just like making sure disciplines like marketing, product, sales & support are aligned, working as one team, it’s also about connecting thinking with fast doing, learning and improving.
  • Short-term, long-term and foundations
    Make sure the right foundations are there, growth quick-wins are used and at the same time growth flywheels are being built for tomorrow’s growth.
  • Flexibility and control
    Growth is about control, but also about development, staying open and flexible. A CGO keeps an optimum balance. 
  • Light the fire and keep the fire burning
    This is probably the most important one In my experience, I have seen lots of CMOs’s, CEO’s etc. that had great ideas for growing their company. In the end, they were unable to realize the growth. The core reason is simple. If you want to move people, you have to make abstract ideas concrete. If you have a new idea for a positioning, you can choose to describe the positioning. You also can choose to design a future homepage that embodies the new positioning, making an abstract idea tangible. This means as a CGO, being able to make ideas visual is a great skill. Telling rich visual stories that can inspire and convince stakeholders.


Understanding human behaviour

A company is what people do: a company is no different from the behaviour of the people. Growth is therefore about changing behaviour of customers, stakeholders and competitors. Every piece of content, a brand, an e-mail flow, and an influencer program, are all systems to change behaviour. So understanding what can drive this behaviour change is the key to enabling growth in a big way. 

The kinds of growth behaviour (examples):

  • Change in a customer’s attention behaviour: the higher the attention (trigger), the more like somebody will change behaviour.
  • Change in customer activation behaviour:  the more valuable and ease someone finds it to get started using a product, the higher the change they will actually use it. 
  • Change in customer retention behaviour: they are motivated and find it easy to keep on using or buying the product.
  • Change in customer referral behaviour: they are highly motivated and find it very easy to do referrals.
  • Change in suppliers’ behaviour: they are less motivated to keep low prices or lower their prices relative to the value.
  • Change in behaviour of suppliers of alternatives: they are less motivated to keep on selling / promoting alternatives.
  • Change in behaviour of potential new entrants: They are less motivated to enter the market, and the costs are simply too high.
  • Change in behaviour of direct competition: They are less motivated to compete directly. The cost of competing is too high.
  • Change in behaviour of investors: They are more motivated to invest.
  • Change in behaviour of employees: They are more motivated and find it easy to develop growth accelerations.
  • Change in behaviour of stakeholders: They are more motivated and find it easy to help develop growth acceleration


Luckily, science is providing us, for example, through research with fMRI scanners, with many insights into how the brain really works. And also we see more tools like Neurons, often combined with A.I. and Machine Learning, that help us to design growth solutions that actually work. Make sure you know what works, not only guess what works. 

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