A Chief of Staff Roundtable: What Can We Do Better and How Can We Get Better At It
We’ve been focused on embracing the role Chief of Staff and engaging the people in these roles at a deeper level, serving as a resource for this audience and giving them tools and ideas to do their job better.
A strategic role within a company, the Chief of Staff aligns the company’s departments and divisions in support of the strategic plan and tracks progress towards goals, making OKRs an ideal tool for them. The position is still evolving and being defined, however, and we wanted to take a data-driven approach to uncover more about it. We reached out to a network of Chiefs of Staff, surveying them about their positions and backgrounds, and interviewing them about how they got to their current positions. They each shared their thoughts on the unique skills required for the job, the importance of communications and what they’re most proud of.
Chief of Staff responsibilities range from communication, transparency and goal achievement across the organization to company alignment and turning strategy into action.
Chiefs of Staff can find their career path starting from any number of previous positions, with a wide range of backgrounds, though a plurality came from Consultancy or Sales positions. This speaks highly to the soft skills that those sorts of positions can help hone, like people management, communication, and strategic thinking.
Regardless of background, with so many different responsibilities, it can be hard to see success as a Chief of Staff. Constantly changing priorities was reiterated as the most difficult part of the job. So when asked how to overcome those challenges, it shouldn’t come as a shock that we heard a lot on relationship building.
The Chief of Staff role is about building relationships, both with those you work with and across the company. It might not surprise anyone that relationships are key to getting things done when you’re a Chief of Staff, especially when despite the title, they generally have no staff themselves.
In terms of communications tools, it was clear that Slack is king. Everyone's on the same page and learns what’s going on, but while they still use email a lot, they’re on Slack and that's going really well.
Being successful consists of when the management team is aligned and able to stay on message across the board. Or having a common understanding of how a similar message ensures that the company feels secure, safe and confident in their work.
Turning strategy into action for a company isn’t easy, and the data shows Chief of Staff as a role that still has a lot to be defined, but focusing on keeping everyone aligned by communicating clearly goes a long way to seeing success in the Chief of Staff position.
If you’re a Chief of Staff and want to learn more about how your peers view their role, or you want to gather data to determine whether you should add one to your organization, check out the results of this survey.
Koan is built to keep your company aligned towards your common goals. Schedule a demo today to see how Koan can get your team on the same page.