A Guide To The Role Of The Chief Operating Officer And The Impact They Have

The Chief Operating Officer one of the most well known and 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.

The CEO has an extremely important role in any organization – it’s clear that they can’t be everywhere and do everything. They need their right-hand person and their strategy execution and reporting go-to – as well as trusted counsel. This is the Chief Operating Officer – a senior executive tasked with overseeing the day-to-day administrative and operational functions of a business.

Decoding The Chief Operating Officer Job Description
& Their Roles & Responsibilities

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When you review COO job descriptions from job adverts found online you find phrases like:

Masters Of Business Process

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As a COO, you’ll know that you need systems and processes to deliver strategy effectively and efficiently. The Chief Operating Officer is responsible for their implementation and use with great knowledge of goal setting frameworks including OKR, 4DX, SMART and KPI management being essential in addition to being fluent in project delivery methodologies such as Agile.

Here are some requirements captured from job descriptions for COO 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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If the business is not continually focused and re-focused in strategy execution and results, there is no point in having a strategy. This is especially hard as most leaders and teams know that business-as-usual tasks will take over and strategic focus can be lost, either temporary or for a long stretch of time.

Here are a selection of execution related responsibilities for the COO.

Reporting

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A key pillar to the role of Chief Operating Officer is having current and accurate views on goals and strategic initiative progress and KPIs in an organization.

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

ZOKRI has been designed for your role as a COO. It provides you 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 to reporting and the the COO role.

High Performance Culture

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Company culture is often misinterpreted, however COOs  have a clear understanding of what a ‘high performing’ culture is. 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 defines how work gets agreed, tracked and done, as well as how learnings will get captured and used in software designed for the job, not Excel sheets or docs.

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

Here are references to culture from COO job adverts that highlight the connection between performance and culture.

What’s Missing From COO Job Descriptions

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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 of the Chief Operating Officer. What’s not specifically included in job ads, but should be worth mentioning include:

What Type Of Person Makes A Good Chief Operating Officer?

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It’s clear that the role of a COO requires a particular set of skills and those skills are multi-dimensional – and can change depending on the industry you’re in. For this reason it is clear that the best COO 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.

A great COO should have high integrity, be detail oriented and adaptable. They should be organized and of course, focussed on growth. 

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

Chief Operating Officer Salary Benchmarks

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According to Glassdoor the average Salary for the COO in the UK is £116,000 GBP, which is a little over $150,000 USD.

It’s clear that in the US the value of the role appears to be more with the average salary reported by Salary.com being $460,000 or about £350,000 GBP.

What’s behind the huge difference in salaries between the two countries? The assumption would be the value associated with the role. Factors, including education, certifications, additional skills and the number of years you have spent in your profession come into play too.

Summary

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The Chief Operating Officer is responsible for delivering the company goals and strategy. 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 always 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.

Much of this makes it feel like the role of the COO is all system and process based, but that would be wrong. Communication skills, both written and verbal are heavily emphasized. The COO 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 that works smoothly with ZOKRI.

We’ve Spoken A lOt About OKR

DOWNLOAD FREE GUIDE TO STRATEGY DELIVERY USING OKRS

DOWNLOAD FREE GUIDE TO STRATEGY DELIVERY USING OKRs

Learn how to write and manage OKRs. Discover how to combine Strategic Themes, OKRs, KPIs and Strategic Initiatives to achieve high levels of performance across teams.

Can we show you how the COO use OKRs
to deliver company strategy?

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When you use OKRs you will be pushing against a number of performance levers. These include:

When employees work towards making progress on fewer, more impactful goals, in a collaborative way, they help their team and company achieve more.

Employees tend to focus more, prolong their focus for longer, collaborate more effectively, and learn new skills. They also do less of what makes a lesser impact.

Two levers we therefore push on are ‘effective productivity’ and ‘employee retention’.
These impact revenue and other high level KPIs.

SIMPLE, POWERFUL, MODULAR & FLEXIBLE​

We’ve learned exactly what how to turn strategy into growth using frameworks like OKRs. Let us help you succeed first time and unlock the value greater alignment and increased focus and engagement brings.

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WHAT IS THE ROI OF SUCCEEDING WITH OKR?
IT’S HUGE, BUT LET US CALCULATE IT FOR YOU

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OKRs are pushing against a number of performance levers.
These include:

When employees work towards making progress on fewer, more impactful goals, in a collaborative way, they help their team and company achieve more.

Employees tend to focus more, prolong their focus for longer, collaborate more effectively, and learn new skills. They also do less of what makes a lesser impact.

Two levers we therefore push on are ‘effective productivity’ and ‘employee retention’. These impact revenue and other high level KPIs.

Book a free 30 minute consultation and let us answer your OKR questions, share valuable tips, and if you would like, calculate your probable OKR ROI for you.