As a business owner and/or CEO, you deserve to be congratulated. You’ve built a profitable business from the ground up and enjoyed some really impressive early success. But as your company grows, are you still on the production line? Or have you taken a step back to focus on growing the company?
Overseeing every element of absolutely everything can be exhausting and when you’re stuck managing the day-to-day operations of your business, there’s no room for scaling.
You may think you have it all figured out, but if you don’t have a COO, the wheels can fall off real fast.
In today’s blog, we’re discussing an uncomfortable truth, if you don’t have a COO, you don’t have it all figured out.
THE “HANDS” OF THE COMPANY
It is often said, If the CEO is the brain of the company, then the COO are the hands. The doer, the implementer, the guy that gets in there and gets things done. The COO is the executive who not only has his finger on every pulse in the business, he’s also responsible for implementing the pie-in-the-sky plans of the CEO.
It’s his job to take those lofty, big-picture ideas, add detail, and making sure they become a reality.
But they’re not just “yes” men. The COO often acts as counsel to the CEO, offering different perspectives to situations and problems based on their vast operational and strategic knowledge. While everything may be running okay, if there’s inefficiencies in the systems to be found, they will be uncovered by a good COO.
If a COO is brought on externally, they’ll need to review every detail of the business’ supply chain and workflow from beginning to end. A fresh set of eyes might be exactly what’s needed to optimize equipment, staffing, resources, logistics, marketing, HR and finance.
The COO is also responsible for designing office and production areas as well as hiring a director of operations. Nicknamed the “COO in training”, a director of operations handles some of their more granular tasks like staffing, team building and quality assurance.
THEY HAVE THE SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE
As a CEO on the fence about adding a COO to the team, ask yourself this, does your situation require an extra set of hands, or a higher level of strategic and managerial experience that you don’t possess? If the answer is yes, you need to hire a COO.
One of the best things about a COO is their practical experience. They have decades of industry experience and complete operational knowledge of the business. For this reason, COOs are usually promoted from within, as the candidates already fully understand the way the business works and don’t have to undergo any kind of standard training to get up to speed. A COO promoted from within has mastered all the different areas of the business and understands the way that they interconnect in order to create a final product.
That’s not to say that the skills of a COO aren’t transferrable across industries, they definitely are, but there is a definite head start for finding your VIP from within.
As a CEO, how are you supposed to get any work done if you’re just telling people what to do all day? With a COO, you don’t have to. COOs are master managers and know what it takes to get things done. COO’s will make sure that the employees under them are competent and delivering the results that are necessary in delivering the final product and generating repeat customers.
It comes as no surprise that with their vast understandings of different functions of the business that COO’s must also be fluent in delegating tasks and even more effective with managing time as they are usually dealing with many parallel projects with different deadlines. Management and the delegation of tasks is just one of the many things you can no longer have to deal with upon hiring a COO.
If you’re the person in charge of operations, you can bet your bottom dollar that you will be interacting with countless people at various different levels of the business on a daily basis. Without a COO, you become bombarded with internal emails, walk-ins, phone calls and Zoom meetings. Imagine your COO as a sort of executive assistance, your gatekeeper to internal communication.
This frees you up to be the public face of the company like you always wanted.
Some of these duties a COO can potentially take off your hands are:
Creating a formal communication structure
A formal communication structure educates employees on the appropriate way to engage management as well as safe and inclusive ways to voice their concerns.
Fostering a collaborative environment
A collaborative environment means that employees are engaged and provide feedback about their own working experience. It also keeps them informed about any upcoming changes.
Acting as a universal voice to employees during large changes and times of crisis
The COO needs to be able to quickly, calmly and effectively convey information to employees in order to make sure that all departments remain functioning properly.
THE COMPANY’S CLOSER
In addition to internal communication and management abilities, a COO is often your companies best closer. By using a slew of negotiation tactics and fluent communication, a COO makes sure that vendor relationships are as beneficial as possible for the company while still making the opposing party feel like they also walked away with a good deal.
But it’s not just vendor and partnership negotiations the COO needs to be a master of. The COO also needs to be able to close on other executives and employees throughout the company as well. They’re responsible for bringing all the departments together, so it is imperative that whoever occupies this position is able to also sell themselves to their peers and employees.
A BUSINESS COACH AND HIRING MASTERMIND
As a business owner attempting to scale a business, making sure your employees are all properly trained can be a difficult, time-consuming task. Finding new superstars can be even harder.
A competent COO is both a training expert and a hiring mastermind. They have the experience to know how important the right people in the right teams are. And one of those people is the director of operations. The COO acts as their mentor and is responsible for both onboarding and training the new director, making sure the company culture trickles down throughout the org chart.
COOs understand that success starts at the top and people under you will pick up 80% of your good habits and 100% of the bad, making example their greatest teaching tool.
Without a doubt, the position of COO is one of the most important positions to fill at a company. As a CEO, you should always be looking for more ways to automate your business, giving you more time to develop strategy that will help you scale and one of the smartest ways to do so is by hiring a COO, they are master managers, fluent communicators and aggressive at closing deals. A COO takes the daily stresses of operations out of your hands allowing you to focus on the important things.
So, if you don’t have a COO at your company, you definitely don’t have it all figured out.
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