Business titles have always been a fascinating topic. They’ve changed dramatically in the last fifty years.
Chiefs are all new. Chief Executive Officer. Chief this officer and chief that officer. All new. Didn’t exist in the ‘Fifties.
I-N-C Magazine reported recently on a guy in Chicago who lets employees pick their own titles. Not surprising probably in a business called Red Frog Events.
His general counsel calls himself Juggler of Justice, and the CFO is Captain of Currency. The COO is the Master of Monkey Business. Other employee titles include Keyboard Cowboy and Conquistador of Color.
He says all companies should do it because normal titles are stuffy. His way breeds creativity, he says. Makes titles memorable. Eliminates the hierarchy of business titles. And it’s just plain fun. It probably is.
On the other hand the article had to define the titles for readers by identifying the cute titles with the traditional ones, like COO, that they had replaced.
The rule, it seems to me, should be - if titles aren’t important in your business - follow his lead. Let people have fun. But if traditional titles have value in your outfit, you’d better stick with them.
But President or CEO ought to be enough. Nobody needs two titles.
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