THE CASE FOR A CHIEF OF STAFF The article “The case for a Chief of Staff” appeared in this month’s issue of Harvard Business Review “The Agile Executive: How to balance efficiency and innovation (even in tough times like these)”. This article outlines that many chief executives need a chief of staff (CoS)—someone who goes beyond the executive assistant role to help the office function smoothly. And that the right chief of staff can be an important source of assistance to leaders who are pushing their organizations and themselves to better performance. We could not agree more. Therefore, please find below this article’s highlights. We wish you great inspiration. And of course, are you a new CEO? Requiring help to achieve your highest potential and to sustain the effort it takes to lead a complex organization? Do not hesitate to contact us. We are delighted to use our passion, expertise and our network for your benefit! SMEENK’S PERSONAL ASSISTANTS Simply the best. Through attention, focus and quality. THE CASE FOR A CHIEF OF STAFF When new CEOs with a change mandate take over a company, they typically invest time in reshaping its strategy and determining the kind of culture needed to succeed. Those choices guide other decisions, including who their senior managers will be and how the leaders will allocate their time. Key factor that will help determine effectiveness Most new CEOs pay little attention to a key factor that will help determine their effectiveness: the administrative system that guides day-to-day operations in their offices. This system ensures that leaders make the most of their limited time, that information arrives at the right point in their decision-making process, and that follow-up happens without their having to check. Many new CEOs default to the system they’ve inherited, even if it is poorly suited to their style or to the operational changes they must make. Often there’s a better way to handle the information flow necessary for a CEO to succeed—and very often a chief of staff (CoS) can play an essential role. The role and responsibilities of a Chief of Staff (CoS) Although each leader should tailor the position to his or her own needs, the CoS should handle several principal duties, all focused on making time, information, and decision processes more effective. Patrick Aylward, a vice president and CoS at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, breaks the job down into five roles:
- serving as an air traffic controller for the leader and the senior team;
- as an integrator connecting work streams that would otherwise remain siloed;
- as a communicator linking the leadership team and the broader organization;
- as an honest broker and truth teller when the leader needs a wide-ranging view without turf considerations;
- and as a confidant without an organizational agenda.