The title Chief of Staff (CoS) refers to a principal staff officer who is the coordinator of projects, deliverables, and supporting staff, or who is a primary aide-de-camp to an important individual. The role originated in the military, and has existed in the political sector since the 1950s. In recent years, the position has appeared in private and public companies, but what IS the role in the context of today’s business?
The scope of Chiefs of Staff spans both the tactical world (Think: traditional executive assistant) and the strategic world (Think: C-Level executive), so they’re often confused with other roles.
While the role is different at every company, a CoS is much more than an executive assistant – she is a facilitator of the CEO’s priorities. She works across teams with a broad skill-set, maturity, and with the flexibility to work intelligently on ad-hoc projects.
“A chief of staff is a catch-all role, filled by someone with exceptional organizational and people skills, who handles all manner of tasks not covered by an existing member of an executive’s leadership team or administrative staff.”
In his book, “Chief of Staff: The Strategic Partner Who Will Revolutionize Your Organization”, author Tyler Parris theorizes that “one leader’s chief of staff is a high-powered executive assistant, while another’s is a vice president, with most chiefs of staff falling somewhere in between.” He also lays out the continuum of complexity of tasks in a helpful way.
Therefore, a CoS can be described as someone with outstanding organizational skills, strong analytical chops, and a deep understanding of people and cultural norms in today’s business world. Parris further posits a short definition for the CoS: A chief of staff is a catch-all role, filled by someone with exceptional organizational and people skills, who handles all manner of tasks not covered by an existing member of an executive’s leadership team or administrative staff.
Time is the busy executive’s most valuable, and yet constrained, resource. Are you struggling to fit everything into your schedule, whether it’s work- or home-related? Are your inbox and calendar blowing up and you’re missing meetings and critical messages? Do you find yourself so buried in the minutia that you’re unable to step back, take a breath, and plan strategically? Let’s face it – you never have enough time to do it all yourself. And even if you did, is this the best use of your time? The adage It’s lonely at the top, has merit. Leaders owe it to themselves, and more profoundly, to their companies, to ensure they don’t become isolated, lest it negatively impact their effectiveness. Failure to do so may result in being blind-sided by a negative surprise.
A Stellar CoS provides, well… Stellar coverage, allowing you to step back into that strategic role where you excel, to run and explore new areas of opportunity without diverting resources from the rest of your company. A Stellar CoS maintains visibility to the high-level vision of the CEO, all the while delivering at the ground level.
Projects such as these can all be delegated to a Stellar CoS:
- Strategic initiatives such as partnerships, M&A diligence, and product-focused exploration
- Quarterly roadmaps, status tracking and updates
- Board meeting prep, including presentation
- Investor updates and fundraising pitch decks
- Recurring team leadership meetings and action items
Stellar Solutions chiefs of staff are facilitators of the highest order. We’re entrepreneurial, efficient with limited resources, strong communicators, provide open, honest feedback and are excellent sounding boards. Due to our combined career experiences, we’re able to dive into most any area of your business.
“The job (of a CoS) is to make me a superhero. That means I’m front and center…I can make better and faster decisions thanks to their work.”
Having a chief of staff external to your organization, such as a Stellar Virtual CoS, ensures a partner committed to one person – you! As Influitive CEO Mark Organ writes in this First Round Review article, “The job is to make me a superhero. That means I’m front and center…I can make better and faster decisions thanks to their work. I’ve got a lot more of the insight I need. I’ve got a greater ability to drive high performance by developing deeper relationships with my team. I’m better able to hold people accountable to their commitments. I’ve got this person whispering in my ear every day, telling me what to focus on and giving me key insights.”
Stellar Solutions challenges you to ask yourself - Are your tasks distracting you from running your business? We can help with your work and personal life tasks, allowing you to focus on what is most important – your family, and growing your business and profit. We can provide you with the support, structure, and discipline to help you avoid randomness. We reduce ambiguity, and keep the cycle of productivity and efficiency more continuous, fueling operational performance and keeping your actionable strategies alive.