How To Be a Good COO in 10 Steps

How to be a good chief operating officer
  1. Obtain education. The first step to becoming an effective COO is to obtain an education to prepare you for the role. …
  2. Learn about management styles. …
  3. Develop relevant soft skills. …
  4. Develop strategy implementation skills. …
  5. Set goals to expand your company and improve its operations.

1. They are strategic with a focus on details. Sheryl Sandberg, who is possibly the most well-known COO in America right now, has a remarkable capacity for in-depth research on a variety of topics. She is also aware of the limits of her responsibilities, preventing her from missing the bigger picture. When Facebook and PayPal encountered difficulties during crucial negotiations, Sandberg reportedly helped resolve the issue by getting in touch with John Donahue, the CEO of PayPal’s parent company eBay.

A successful COO strikes a balance between a depth of knowledge and experience and a capacity for strategic management. They understand the specifics of day-to-day execution while keeping their company’s high-level strategy front and center to make sure what needs to happen does. Handling those details can be no small matter. According to a survey by Ernst & Young of hundreds of COOs, about six out of ten say the position’s complexity and diversity are fundamentally what make it worthwhile.

2. They appreciate talent. A good COO is a people person. They are aware that the success of the company depends on a talented team. While maintaining operations, they continuously seek out ways to advance the business by strengthening the talent pipeline, increasing the level of talent through strong hires, and presenting chances for team members to advance their current skills.

3. The top chief operating officers prioritize the company over themselves. There is a total lack of ego. These COOs find ways time and again to highlight others. Instead of accepting speaking engagements, they will give those opportunities to the head of the business line or the head of marketing. Similar to this, the top COOs will seek opportunities to share the spotlight with others when media outlets request interviews.

4. They are data-driven: It can be tempting to make business decisions based solely on instinct at times. The effective COO is the one who will slow them down or stop them when a CEO, business-line head, or director of procurement says, “I just know this initiative will be a home run,” and then ask for data to help guide decisions. COOs must be data-driven because they are in charge of ensuring that the strategic vision is translated into successful operations. The best COOs will insist that the business be driven by data rather than allowing it to be influenced by gut feelings, internal politics, hunches, or executive intuition.

According to the Crist Kolder Assocates 2013 Volatility Report, 44% of Fortune 500 and S&P 500 CEOs were COOs. Look no further than Tim Cook at Apple or the recent rumors that Sheryl Sandberg is a contender to succeed Bob Iger as CEO of Disney for examples of outstanding COOs moving up.

Understanding The COO Role | Chief Operating Officer

What does a good COO look like?

Good COOs succeed in their position by utilizing a variety of abilities and qualities. A good COO may possess the following traits:

How to be a good COO

Consider taking the following actions to aid in becoming a competent COO:

1. Develop your strategic planning skills

Strategic planning is an essential part of being a COO. Consider developing your strategic planning abilities in order to be successful in this position. These abilities may be acquired through education or employment, but you can also take additional courses to advance them. You can practice these skills by focusing on the future. When making business plans, try to make long-term strategies.

2. Focus on communication

Great COOs collaborate with other employees by having excellent communication skills. To become a better leader, think about honing your verbal, nonverbal, and written communication skills. To improve your verbal communication abilities, you can practice speaking aloud or enroll in a public speaking class. Pay attention to your body language when presenting to hone your non-verbal communication abilities. You can take additional courses or practice writing and get feedback.

3. Set specific goals

Strong goal-setting abilities are essential for a COO to successfully lead an organization. When setting objectives, you can do so for both your business and yourself. Consider setting specific, actionable goals with deadlines. Setting timely and specific goals will enable your business to monitor and assess its progress. As an illustration, you might decide to aim to cut production costs by 20% in the upcoming period. You can track and measure this, and it has a clear deadline.

4. Use data and design systems

A COO must use data to develop and improve business strategies in order to be successful. To decide which data you should track, take into account your business and goals. For instance, if your objective is to increase customer satisfaction, you could set up a data system to monitor and measure this. You could design a customer survey or monitor the number of repeat customers at your establishment.

COOs often use systems within their organization to improve efficiency. Depending on your industry, a system might include a corporate procedure or an administrative procedure. For instance, a COO in a production company might develop a production schedule and system. To increase effectiveness, they can work to review and enhance this system in the future.

5. Learn to delegate effectively

Delegating or dividing tasks to your team is a crucial aspect of being a COO. Depending on the size of your business, you could assign tasks to specific branches, departments, or people. When delegating, you can break up big tasks or responsibilities into smaller chunks. Make an effort to clearly communicate the tasks to each team or individual. Productivity can increase when team members are aware of their duties.

6. Build powerful teams

Depending on your company, you might be able to assist the COO in hiring professionals to create a potent team. Think about the qualities you want for the position if you are involved in the hiring process. Consider the experience and abilities you want to find in a senior manager with regard to leadership, for instance, if you are hiring someone to join the executive team. Planning your desired characteristics will help you find qualified professionals.

7. Develop leadership skills

Great COOs inspire their teams to succeed by demonstrating strong leadership qualities. Consider developing these skills through coaching opportunities or mentoring programs. You may be able to enhance workplace culture and company performance by becoming a more effective leader.

8. Review your organizational structure

Companies may need to modify their organizational structure as they expand and change. For instance, you might establish new branches or locations if your business significantly expands. Each branch may need a leader or manager. You might need to hire for new positions or promote people already employed by the company. Consider taking time to review your organizations schedule regularly.

9. Recognize and share successes

Effective leaders celebrate their teams successes. As a COO, consider celebrating certain milestones within the company. You can share the companys goals and organizational performance indicators. For instance, if the company’s goal is to cut costs and one location succeeds in doing so, you should recognize and commend that location. This could raise productivity and uplift team morale.

10. Consistently review and improve

In order to identify areas for improvement, successful COOs review their systems, data, and structures. You can support the expansion of your business by continuously focusing on improvements. Make time in your schedule to review your company’s systems on a regular basis. This can help you identify areas of improvement.


What qualities make a good COO?

5 Qualities a Chief Operating Officer (COO) Should Have
  • COOs Must Have An Ability To Oversee. COOs have the ability to see the bigger picture.
  • COOs Must Have An Ability To Visualize. …
  • COOs Must Have An Ability To Lead Others. …
  • COOs Must Have Integrity. …
  • A COO Must Be Honest.

What do I need to know as a COO?

How to Become a COO
  • Expert-level industry knowledge.
  • Strong communication skills.
  • The ability to make strategic decisions for the company.
  • Experience identifying organizational challenges and implementing effective solutions.
  • Proven track record of successfully leading and managing teams.
  • Cross-functional collaboration.

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