A high-level position for growth-focused business owners


If you want to give your business a powerful competitive edge, there’s a high-level position you should add to your leadership team or advisory board.  And especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • You want to grow your company’s sales, market share and profitability.  
  • You are sometimes frustrated with people, products or projects that aren’t performing.
  • You are looking for new, innovative idea to improve your company’s competitiveness.
  • You want to develop and maintain a high-performance team culture.

Any of the above apply to you?  Then seriously consider this position.  What is it called?  The Strategic Business Partner.

For any of the above situations, The Strategic Business Partner will give you the impartial eyes, fresh perspective and high-powered insights you need to move forward. It will help you to better deal with rampant competition, poorly differentiated products and services, declining demand, razor-thin margins and sluggish sales.

You will find it easier to gain and maintain a strong market presence, your business will be seen more favorably as the brand preference in the eyes of prospects and customers, and it will be harder for competitors to imitate you.  Sound too good to be true? Not when this position is built upon sound strategic thinking and principles of strategy.

Let’s take a closer look at The Strategic Business Partner by firstly reviewing its evolution.

Introducing The Strategic Business Partner

The Strategic Business Partner has evolved from the business partner position which has been around since the late 1990s, and which has grown in popularity from 2014.

Depending on the functional focus, the business partner position has a variety of titles.  

In HR for example, titles include Human Resources Business Partner (HRBP), People and Culture Business Partner, and People and Performance Business Partner.

And in the accounting function, position titles range from Finance Business Partner through to Commercial Business Partner.

Putting titles aside, the purpose of the business partner position is quite simple.  It is to support the business owner’s goal to improve performance.  And to get the business consistently performing in the green zone.

Unfortunately, in recent years the concept of the business partner has become somewhat muddied. How so?  Many firms who hire business partners have them performing routine, operational tasks.

This is a mistake.  A genuine business partner is not involved in, nor performs, routine administrative tasks.  The role of the business partner is strategic in nature.

To be clear, the Strategic Business Partner is a genuine strategic position.  To explain, let’s look at the definition of strategic. defines strategic as being “important in or essential to strategy”, while the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines strategic as useful or important in achieving a plan or strategy.”

Synonyms for strategic include important, big, major, critical, key, principal, essential and crucial.

So whenever the word strategic is used, it refers to something that is big, important and essential to strategy.

Strategic is what The Strategic Business Partner is all about.  And it’s a service that integrates three modern-day business roles:

  • Chief Strategy Officer (CSO)
  • People and Culture Mentor
  • Strategy and Leadership Coach

Here is a brief introduction to these roles.

Chief Strategy Officer. The Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) is tasked with assisting the CEO or business owner on matters relating to strategy.

The importance of the CSO was highlighted in a 2008 article titled The Rise of the Chief Strategy Officer, where authors Tim Breene, Paul F. Nunes and Walt Shill stated:

Companies are starting to add CSOs to their management teams for a variety of reasons. First, CEOs need the help: Complex organizational structures, rapid globalization, new regulations and the struggle to innovate, among other challenges, make it ever more difficult for CEOs to be on top of all parts of the business, even when it’s something as important as strategy execution.

Further, the nature of strategy itself has changed during the past decade. Strategy development has become a continuous process, and successful execution therefore depends more than ever on rapid and effective decision-making. (Accenture Outlook: January 2008)


People and Culture Mentor.   People and Culture is a term many businesses have adopted to replace Human Resources. People and Culture is viewed by these businesses to be a more accurate term for the people aspect of businesses.

With regards to people and culture, a people and culture mentor is a senior advisor and mentor on matters relating to people, relationships and culture.

Strategy and Leadership Coach.  Coaching is an important part of the learning and development (L & D) function within a business.  The key to good coaching outcomes? It is the skills and track record of the coach, the coachability of the person/s being coached, and the coaching model used by the coach.

Although these are key positions, here’s the reality. They are associated with corporates large enough to pay the high salaries these positions command.

For instance, according to, a top compensation package for a CSO exceeds US$390,000 per year, while a Senior People and Culture Mentor is paid more than US$200,000 per year.  And top CEO/leadership coaches charge upwards of US $500 an hour.

Ultimately, the cost to a business of hiring all three positions is hugely expensive.

The cost-effective solution? The Strategic Business Partner.  The Strategic Business Partner integrates these three positions into one, thereby making it highly affordable, particularly for small to mid-size companies.  

With the Strategic Business Partner you have a senior level advisor who sits at the leadership table and serves as a strategy consultant, advisor, coach and mentor on all things related to human capital, strategy and strategy execution.

Here’s how the service works.

An overview of the Strategic Business Partner service

Firstly, as a strategist/CSO The Strategic Business Partner works at the highest level within an organisation, using high-level strategic thinking, strategy models and tools to help owners/leaders improve strategic analysis, decision-making and planning.  This is particularly important in the development of business strategy and communications strategy.

Then, in the area of human capital, the Strategic Business Partner works closely with business owners to build human capital, which is the most valuable asset. Here, areas of focus include philosophy planning and development (values and culture), strategic recruitment and retention, the development of high-trust relationships, and skill set development. In this role the Strategic Business Partner can also help business owners to solve complex ER, HR and general performance issues.

With coaching and training The Strategic Business Partner applies the principles and practices of blended coaching to upskill senior leaders and to coach the coaches. It is here that we drive the ethos that people, relationships and human capital development is what business is really about.

Blended coaching? It is, quite simply,  the most powerful skill development process on the planet.  Adapted from elite-level sports coaching, apprenticeship training and military war games, blended coaching is far superior to traditional learning and classroom instruction.

Ultimately, The Strategic Business Partner works with owners “on the business” to improve strategic management performance.

This then is the purpose, core roles and services of The Strategic Business Partner.  

The Strategic Business Partner is available on a retainer basis, with retainer options available for as low as $2,500 a month. 

If you’re a business owner wanting to improve strategic management performance, and the value of your organisation’s human capital, enquire about our strategic business partner service.  For serious enquiries email ben (at)

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