Archive for May 2012

When to Hire a Chief Operating Officer and why

May 31, 2012

Company culture starts with a common set of values.  Because the role of a COO can vary from company to company, you’ll want to assess which departments of your organization the COO should oversee – be it all or just a few.  “The company’s core performance is impacted by a number of non-core items,”

Hiring a COO can free up a CEO to focus on major external initiatives and foster new opportunities rather than being occupied with keeping multiple departments productive.  In practice, I’ve found that hiring a COO makes sense for most entrepreneurs.  While I’m sympathetic to the arguments against hiring a COO, I do believe the role can be highly beneficial — and even necessary — in certain situations.

By hiring a COO, the CEO usually the founder in a start up or next wave company can concentrate on the aspects of the position that he/she really excels at and loves the most.  Before hiring a COO, ask yourself if you’ll be able to delegate business operations and put in place a monitoring system to ensure that operational standards meet your expectations.  For example, hiring a COO to handle operational problems, someone who can manage legal, someone who’s great at business development and revenue partnerships and someone who’s a technology leader who can actually scale the technology team or mange an ever growing sales force.

The COO should be an effective personnel hire for your small business.  Typically, these types of leaders are interested in working on operating and growing a sustainable organization while the CEO is more interested in driving innovation.  While innovation is extremely important (i.e. Apple’s ability to grow through innovation alone), Even Steve Jobs needed to have someone who is ensuring all the pieces of the organization are aligned with the company’s vision and priorities.  This is where a COO would be extremely valuable to an innovation focused leader. So Look at the experience of you hire and not at yourself in the mirror.  When you are in the grand forest of the business world you don’t really want the only sound you hear there to be an echo of your own voice.

In a world where good business practices and corporate governance are daily credos find one that has some dirt on his/her shoes because experience is more valuable than a alphabet soup monogram after their name. Check this article out at