Note: this is the latest post in my “Better CoS” series, a collection of posts aimed at skill-building for Chiefs of Staff. Links to other posts are available at the end of this article.

Credit NASA: Inflight photo of the device constructed by the Apollo 13 crew using duct tape, maps, and other materials.

It’s often been said that constraints are good for innovation. One of the most inspiring illustrations of this to me has always been the Apollo 13 mission. …


Note: this is the first in a planned “Better CoS” series, a collection of posts aimed at skill building for Chiefs of Staff.

There is no shortage of management literature regarding decision-making. The volume of books and articles ranges from “pop culture” psychology to peer-reviewed scientific journals to insightful research by top-tier consulting firms. Often, however, all this powerful guidance falls short of making an impact in day-to-day decision-making where it matters — in the leadership meeting.

As a Chief of Staff (CoS), I’ve observed the gap that can exist between understanding better decision-making intellectually and making changes to decision-making…


The Chief of Staff (CoS) role continues to gain prominence in the business world. It wasn’t that long ago that people tasked with performing aspects of a CoS rarely used the title. Today, a search for “Chief of Staff” on LinkedIn returns thousands of results and hiring for new roles is consistently healthy.

As someone who has been in such a role for over seven years, I am passionate about cultivating and contributing to a community of people who see value in the role and have clarity on what it can entail. …


I have held the role of Chief of Staff for over 6 years, under 3 different SVP’s (one of whom served as Chief Product Officer and Co-CEO of the company), and within 2 functional organizations (Sales and Product). Through this experience, I’ve advised dozens of people — leaders looking to hire a Chief of Staff, people newly in the role, and those aspiring to be in such a role. These people have come to me looking for insights regarding what I have learned and how I see the role. …

Rob Dickins

Chief of Staff to the CEO @ Autodesk; passionate advocate, instructor, and facilitator of Human Centered Design

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