COOs are often in place when companies want to be transparent about succession planning or when CEOs are spending time on strategy rather than the day-to-day operations. COOs are also brought in to complement CEOs who have a strong leadership background but may lack an operational experience.
When you’re spending all of your time making sure everything runs smoothly, you have less time to brainstorm new ways to push your company forward. If you’re too busy making sure your business stays on-track, consider hiring a COO. A chief operating officer can take control of the daily workings of your company, giving you more time to analyze where your business is going and how you can help it get there.
The role of the COO varies greatly from one industry to another and even from one company to another but one constant we have seen is the COO’s close relationship with the CEO, who is often responsible for defining the role.
One of the most important qualities of an effective COO is the ability to be a world-class follower. The COO should be comfortable to privately challenge the CEO’s thinking, but the two need to be solidly in step when communicating with stakeholders.