How To Transition Your CoS Role from Do-It-All to Exec Management Mode

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Jan 7, 2022

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How To Transition Your CoS Role from Do-It-All to Exec Management Mode

On how your CoS role evolves when the company grows: 
- As you bring on senior leaders, a lot of the time responsibilities are *coming off* of your plate. It’s important to think through how you can maintain executive presence while off-boarding a bunch of stuff. 

- When off-boarding things, it’s also important to carve out new space for yourself to grow and lead. 

- You can often find yourself balancing putting out fires, and not trying to lose sight of the strategic work you should and want to be doing. 

- How the business objectives can be *your objectives* initially and then over time, new hires and new leaders can have objectives that might not exactly be aligned with *your objectives.* How to potentially fix this? Work on better goal-setting and having more aligned OKRs.

- One critical function that you as a CoS can do during a role evolution is running and managing the operating cadence.

- How a later-stage company may not have potentially “more advanced” systems and processes in-place, and how an earlier stage company could. 

- The importance of creating systems and processes that are able to run without you being there (i.e. operating cadence), in-case a crisis pops up.

Resources mentioned:

- David Sacks' blog post on cadence

- Trillion Dollar Coach by Bill Campbell

Other takeaways:

- The importance of specific communication and setting-context when talking to your Principal to enable more meaningful and actionable conversations.

- In your first 30 days of your role, ask the executive team: “what are your priorities and what gives you passion from that?” This information can also be especially helpful, as the company grows and evolves. You can try to move people to where they are most passionate then too. 

- The importance of planting seeds for when later creating change in your company. You can also do this by finding ambassadors that can later amplify your ideas and initiatives. 

- The importance of hiring a recruiter (potentially around Series A stage) because otherwise leaders at your company could be spending a lot of time trying to hire more people.

- Looking ahead, try to scout out the projects that could be very impactful for the company and yourself. 

- “You don’t know unless you ask.” This was related to how someone officially got their Chief of Staff role by asking.

- One top tip for a new Chief of Staff: deeply shadow your Principal. Learn how they think and work.

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