I like so many boys grew up watching Cowboy and “Indian” movies.  I spent quite a few afternoons in front of the family television fixated on the trials and tribulations of each group.  For whatever reason, I found a certain affinity with the Chiefs of these tribes.   More times than not, the Chief and tribe were at a severe disadvantage and were forced to rally men, women and children to defend the homeland, way of life etc.

Even as a child, I was a fan of those who had to fight adversity and push through obstacles to find a better place.  This was great stuff for an eight year old kid.  I would sit there for hours and live vicariously through the adventures of my favorite “Indian” Chiefs.   As one might suspect, my fascination waned and I eventually moved away from this movie genre.  I moved on to Rambo, Rocky and a host of other action-filled stories which seemed to suit my palate just fine.  George Bernard Shaw said that “Youth is wasted on the young” so maybe he and I did not have the same taste in movies.

This week as I was perusing LinkedIn, I discovered than many others seem to have had a similar fascination with being a Chief too.  I could not help but notice how many people are Chiefs of something right now.  I guess I missed the memo, email or tweet that it was in vogue to be a Chief. I do recall shortly after graduating from college, being told that one of the pinnacles of success in corporate America was to be a card carrying member of the C-Suite.  That might be the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Information Officer, Chief Financial Officer and so forth.  The point being that to be a Chief in the corporate America tribe was a good thing as it often came with certain perks like prestige, elevated compensation, power, respect etc.

In this particular case, there were new tribes of Chiefs that I had not seen or heard of yet.

photoHere is a quick sample of some of the Chief’s that I found on Linkedin:

  • Chief Listening Officer
  • Chief Strategy Officer
  • Chief Sustainability Officer
  • Chief Talent Officer
  • Chief Sales officer
  • Chief Customer Officer
  • Chief Client officer
  • Chief Creative Officer
  • Chief Live Events Officer

After looking at some of the titles, I am not sure exactly what some of these people do.  As I sat there and pondered all the possible reasons for the explosion of these new titles, I was unable to come up with anything conclusive. Has the digital age transformed the marketplace in a way that we need more Chiefs?  Are all Chiefs created equal?  Is there a kid in Omaha waking up right now aspiring to be a Chief? I am not arguing for or against but I would suggest that if you are currently a Chief, it might help if the other tribesmen know exactly what you do and why.

Tip: Your title is not your personal brand and your brand should not be just your title.

On a side note, I have decided to become a Chief too; I am now the Chief Inspiration Officer.  I like the way that sounds.


Devin Hughes is a former college basketball player, sales and marketing aficionado, keynote speaker, part-time academic and frequent eclectic thinker.  He draws on a variety of ideas, disciplines and trends to inspire “Big Thoughts” and facilitate conversations.  He is an avid storyteller who has the unique ability to connect with audiences by inspiring them to be the change they wish to see in the world.  A graduate of Colgate University, he lives Carlsbad, CA with his wife and four daughters.  You may contact him via e-mail at devin@devinchughes.com. His website is: http://www.devinchughes.com/ He is also a featured blogger on http://www.upstartnation.biz.