A Guide To The Role Of The Chief of Staff, The Impact They Have & Why It’s Such A Key Hire

ZOKRI

The Chief-of-Staff is quickly becoming one of the most important C-level hires in companies that are struggling to deliver strategic priorities through the use of best-practice systems and processes like OKRsKPIs and strategic initiative delivery.

Chief Of Staff

It’s clear that the CEO can’t be everywhere and do everything and the role of the Chief-of-Staff is to be their right-hand person, trusted counsel, and strategy execution and reporting go-to. That said, it’s not a given that the Chief-of-Staff reports to the CEO and there are exceptions like reporting to the COO and CRO for example.

Decoding The Chief of Staff Job Description
& Their Roles & Responsibilities

ZOKRI

When you review job descriptions for Chief-of-Staff you find phrases like:

  • Maximise the CEO’s value to the executive team.
  • Allow the CEO to gain in productivity and impact.
  • Deliver the company’s strategic priorities.

Masters Of Business Process

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You can’t deliver strategy without systems and processes. The Chief-of-Staff is responsible for their implementation and use with a mastery of goal setting frameworks like OKR, KPI management being essential in addition to being fluent in project delivery methodologies like agile.

Here are requirements captured from job descriptions for the Chief-of-Staff roles that emphasize the requirements of being able to implement and manage systems and processes that deliver strategic priorities.

Execution & Results Focused

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There is no point having a strategy if the business is not continually focused and re-focused in strategy execution and results. This is especially hard as most leaders and teams know that given half a chance, business-as-usual will take over and strategic focus can be lost.

Here are a selection of execution related responsibilities of the Chief-of-Staff.

Reporting

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Having current and accurate views on goals and strategic initiative progress and KPIs is a key pillar of the role of the Chief-of-Staff.

Here are the reporting requirements described in job descriptions for Chief-of-Staff roles that highlight the importance of having access to technology like ZOKRI.

ZOKRI provides Chief-of-Staff with the system and processes to create strategically aligned goals and initiatives, ensure updates on progress as well as information on blockers are gathered systematically, in addition to being able to monitor and report on operational KPIs.

Here are some of the requirements leading companies describe with regards reporting and the Chief-of-Staff role.

High Performance Culture

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What makes a culture a ‘high performing’ culture is now well understood. Building a world-class culture is achieved by creating a set of shared values, beliefs, attitudes, feelings and a sense of purpose and belonging.

When teams don’t need to think about how to create, work, interact and relate to each other you’re succeeding.

Part of the process of getting there is to create the processes that define how work gets agreed, tracked and done, as well as how learnings will get captured and used.

ZOKRI is a place for proving purpose, clarity, systems, frameworks, processes, structures, policies, and procedures that make better ways of working culture.

Here are references to culture from Chief-of-Staff job ads that highlight the connection between performance and culture.

What’s Missing From Chief-of-Staff Job Descriptions

ZOKRI

You can see that performance drivers like strategic focus, goal and executional plan clarity with relevant systems, processes and technology, information flow and reporting are central to the role. What’s not specifically called out but might be implied that would be worth mentioning in job descriptions is:

What Type Of Person Makes A Good Chief of Staff

ZOKRI

It’s clear that the role of a Chief-of-Staff requires a particular set of skills and those skills are multi-dimensional. For this reason it is clear that the best Chief-of-Staff candidates are going to be highly prized as their position and skills puts them in a unique position to create significant value in an organization.

Here are some of the personal traits we’ve found that are frequently linked to the role.

Chief Of Staff Salary Benchmarks

ZOKRI

According to Glassdoor the average Salary for the Chief-of-Staff in the UK is £74,000 GBP, which is about $100,000 USD.

In the US the value of the role appears to be more with the average salary reported by Salary.com being $220,000 or about £165,000 GBP.

What is behind the huge difference in salaries between the two countries? The assumption would be the value associated with the role, supply and demand.

It would be reasonable to assume that this salary gap will narrow as the job becomes more common, more valued and more in demand in the UK and Europe.

Summary

ZOKRI

The Chief-of-Staff is responsible for delivering the company. They achieve this through the adoption of better systems and processes that include goal setting methodologies like OKR and KPI Management.

Of course, strategy will not be delivered and goals will not be achieved unless the delivery teams, both functional and cross-functional are kept focused. This means the update and executional cycle cadence needs to be adhered to. When it is reporting up and reporting down becomes easy, as does making any necessary adjustments to plans and resourcing.

Much of this makes it feel like the role of the Chief of Staff is all system and process based, but that would be wrong. Communication skills, both written and verbal are heavily emphasized. The Chief-of-Staff not only needs the ability to align and engage cross-functional teams, they have to be able to work alongside the CEO, the wider leadership team, and external stakeholders as well.

A very important and cool role in our opinion.