Part 1: The Role of a Corporate Chief of Staff

Companies big and small are increasingly hiring “Chiefs of Staff” to support their CEO, COO, CTO, or other key executives. Although the the Chief of Staff role differs widely, at its core, having a Chief of Staff allows the executive to scale, and it gives them back their most important resource: time.

Image for post
Image for post
  • Chief of Staff to the CEO
  • Corporate Chief of Staff
  • Business Chief of Staff
  • Advisor to the CEO
  • Office of the CEO
  • Special Assistant to the CEO

Administrative

  • Scheduling high priority meetings
  • Coordinating executive calendars
  • Planning and executing senior management retreats, all-hands meetings, and company offsites
  • Taking meeting notes
  • Tracking meeting follow-ups
  • Maintaining a Rolodex of important contact information

Project Management

  • Tracking high priority initiatives for the executive and identifying any obstacles
  • Communicating initiative status to the executive, pulling in other executives or team members as necessary
  • Connecting teams that are working on similar initiatives
  • Pulling together and managing project teams that require input from multiple areas within the company

Financial

  • Running the annual budget cycle process (for example, helping department heads prepare their budget materials for presentation to the CEO)
  • Project managing board meeting preparation and creation of board meeting materials
  • Running quarterly business reviews
  • Creating and updating monthly dashboards to track changes in key metrics
  • Analyzing investment opportunities

Strategic Initiatives

  • Identifying and taking on ad hoc strategic projects (for example, executing key initiatives or closing any operational gaps)
  • Defining and researching new ideas and business opportunities
  • Building out a new business unit
  • Providing decision support through data gathering, information analyzing, and presenting considerations to relevant stakeholders

Communications

  • Designing and executing a corporate communication strategy
  • Drafting speeches and presentations

Public Relations

  • Vetting speaking opportunities and interview requests

Human Resources

  • Updating recruiting processes
  • Overseeing diversity and culture initiatives
  • Reviewing organizational structure, identifying any gaps, and filling them
  • Aligning internal processes

Advisory

  • Serving as a trusted advisor and confidant to the executive

Proxy

  • Attending meetings in place of the executive
  • Making decisions in place of the executive

Relationship Management

  • Managing critical relationships on behalf of the executive

Gatekeeper

  • Assessing all inquiries directed to the executive and determining the proper course of action
  • Determining which meetings take priority
  • Vetting requests for time and routing requests to other departments as appropriate

Other

  • Deciding which charitable initiatives to contribute to
  • Traveling with the executive to conferences or meetings
  • Acting as a “body man” at conferences (read about Obama’s body man, Reggie Love, here)
Image for post
Image for post

Integration

The Chief of Staff role is much more than the simple aggregation of the individual responsibilities listed above. The most successful CoS’s dynamically integrate these responsibilities and can track the flow of a relationship, project, or initiative from end-to-end.

Image for post
Image for post
The Chief of Staff typically exists alongside several other roles that report directly to the CEO

Additional Resources

Fantastic compilation of CoS resources from Richard McLean, CoS at Elsevier — read it here

Blockchain Business Development at AWS; formerly at Zappos & McKinsey; Gold House; HBS/Harvard

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store