The Chief of Staff Leveling Framework was created to help Chiefs of Staff understand and communicate their position inside the organization. The framework is based on research with the hundreds of Chiefs of Staff in our community to better understand how the role progresses from IC execution to strategy & people management at the most senior levels.
The framework consists of 5 levels of Chiefs of Staff, each with different dimensions of growth and advancement criteria. The dimensions are: relationship to principal, scope of ownership, influence & impact, communication & collaboration, and leadership & development. The framework also accounts for differences in organization size and stage, as Chiefs of Staff at smaller or larger companies may face different challenges and opportunities.
The framework can be used by Chiefs of Staff to identify their current level, their growth areas, and their development plans. It can also be used by principals to clarify the expectations and responsibilities of their Chiefs of Staff. The framework is available here on the Chief of Staff Network website.
Responsibilities & Scope of a Level 3 Chief of Staff
In this article, we’re going to expand on the experience, remit, and skill sets often found in Level 3 Chiefs of Staff.
Level 3 is the Manager / Sr. Manager level; at this point, Chiefs of Staff begin to deal with more strategic matters and manage entire projects on their own. Their responsibilities and scope tend to look like this:
- Manages complex projects across departments: Level 3 CoSs move beyond individual tasks and small projects to manage broader initiatives impacting multiple teams or departments. They ensure alignment, resource allocation, and smooth execution.
- ~Implementing a CRM
- ~Running a resource planning process
- Provides strategic guidance and analysis: Level 3 CoSs shift from tactical execution to strategic thinking. They analyze data, identify trends, and provide insights to inform their principal's decision-making.
- ~Informing their principal on relevant trends & tools in generative AI
- ~Running the OKR process
At this level, Chiefs of Staff are expected to run large projects and provide strategic insight. Here are some of the skills and experience that are typically required for a Chief of Staff role at this level:
- 5-7 years of relevant experience
- The ability to lead others via influence
- Acumen at change management
- Data analysis and pattern recognition; the ability to coalesce external trends and internal data to provide strategic advice
Level 3 Chiefs of Staff can begin to earn significant amounts of salary. Our global research indicates it averages around $101k, with a 25th percentile wage being $74,000 and the 75th percentile being $142,000.
Here’s an indicative Level 3 Chief of Staff job description:
- Be the glue to our team, with complete access to the founders’ calendar, attending key meetings, and taking charge of vital business & product tasks.
- Recognize user requirements and transform company objectives into viable product features. Work closely with the product team and founders to integrate feedback from users and customers.
- Take ownership of multiple projects simultaneously, bridging the gap across product, sales/marketing, and customer success departments.
- Define and establish the primary performance metrics, and devise methods to evaluate the team's efficacy.
- Support the founders in setting the overall strategic direction and plans for the company
- Automate as much of the business as possible, or outsource work to virtual assistants where possible
- Project-manage marketing campaigns and product launches
- Build financial models for the business. Data reporting, write SQL queries and generate reports
- Manage social media accounts and post content on social media
- Has a background in finance and financial modeling
- Has a strong understanding of how software is built (e.g. dependencies, packaging, testing, deployment).
- Extensive experience with content-writing, making marketing collaterals in Figma
- Extensive experience with automation tools like Airtable, Zapier, etc
- Ability to manage multiple projects concurrently while maintaining attention to detail and meeting deadlines
- A customer-centric mindset and the ability to work both independently and as part of a team
Example persona for Level 3:
Ray (growth startup, internal promote).
Ray is 28 and lives in Chicago. He attended UChicago as an economics and sociology double major. He did Venture for America in St. Louis for 2 years and then moved back to Chicago to work for Mondelez on their brand strategy team, where he rose to Manager, earning $130k.
He then left Mondelez to work remotely for a fast-growing Series C insurtech company, coming in as a BizOps Manager and getting promoted to Chief of Staff to the CEO, earning $135k in base cash as well as $10k in signing bonus.
In this role, Ray oversees cross-functional projects between marketing, product, and customer service. He also runs the company’s budgeting and strategic planning processes. He relishes the breadth of responsibility and impact he has in this role, having worked at both very small and very large companies.
Overall, a Level 3 Chief of Staff is a highly skilled and experienced professional who plays a critical role in their organization's success. They are strategic thinkers, effective communicators, and strong leaders who drive results and influence their principal and the broader organization.
If you’re interested in networking with CoS of all different levels, you can sign up for membership here.