What a Chief of Workers Ought to Be Doing for Your Firm
The speed and course of your company’s growth depends on three factors. great people have asolid plan and draft of an implementation process to allow focus and flexibility.
There is a role that can help unlock all three features and ultimately unleash your growth. a Chief of Staff (CoS). Originally dominant in the political world, the role has grown in importance over the past decade, first in the startup space and now for more complex organizations looking to scale.
A good CoS can multiply the CEO’s effectiveness, align the executive team, and help set up the dumbest of planning and implementation.
However, the role of CoS can mean many different things to different people depending on the industry and organization. Some approach the role like a super-charged executive assistant. Others see it as someone who can do special projects. Others still see it more as a press officer. These are all acceptable options, but not ones that make the most of this unique position.
Here are the three main functions a CoS should perform for you and your team to strengthen the triad of people, plan, and team.
Manage information flow
The first job of a CoS is to ensure that information is flowing in and out of the CEO’s office appropriately. Whether it’s emails, phone calls, memos, agendas, and minutes, they provide a quick search and route the information accordingly.
With the help of an agreed prioritization process, the information and decisions that the CEO needs to see and consider are passed on and brought to the most appropriate path to take action. On all other points, the job of the chief of staff is to work with the broader leadership team to manage them at the correct level of the organization.
An important difference is how to manage information and how to filter information. When data is filtered, it has been massaged or distorted on the pretext of making it more palatable. This is an unhealthy way of running a business and an inadvisable approach. On the flip side, managing the flow is about getting the right information in front of the right people in the most effective way possible.
Maximize your time
With a good flow of information, a CoS’s next job is to help the CEO maximize their time by focusing on the areas where they add the most value. This includes sharing the organizational vision, long-term strategic planning, mentoring the leadership team, and working with employees at all levels to improve morale and alignment.
An effective CoS will relentlessly protect the CEO’s schedule and minimize the time spent on activities outside of the most critical activities. Not in an attempt to make them appear unavailable or disabled. But on the contrary. With a carefully compiled calendar, a CEO can increase their availability and engagement by not wasting time and focusing on the wrong things.
In addition to being the gatekeeper of the CEO’s schedule, the CoS will do the groundwork to ensure that the CEO is prepared before any engagement. They provide background information for the meeting and, if necessary, pull out who will be in the room, pull out any major discussion points and make sure there is a well thought out agenda.
Facilitating strategic planning and implementation
The final key role of an effective CoS is relief. First, you should oversee all aspects of the strategic planning process. This includes planning all relevant discussions, working with thematic issues to compile the necessary data and research in advance, and documenting all important results.
Once a strategic plan is established, your next task is to create an implementation and communication cadence of quarterly, monthly, and weekly meetings for the CEO and his executive team. These meetings should be used to track all goals, KPIs and progress of the key initiatives, as well as any agreed changes in strategy or direction.
The CoS would work with the leadership team prior to these meetings to ensure that all necessary groundwork has been completed and the relevant data is available to have a positive, engaging discussion. You would make these meetings easier and take responsibility for disseminating and tracking any next action so that the CEO can fully participate in the discussions without focusing on the structure or the flow.
Building a CoS role can be a challenge. It requires a person with a high level of emotional intelligence. Your success depends on the human relationships between you, the CEO, and the rest of the executive team. However, if you get it right, your growth path will only point upwards.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.