Tag Archives: Chief Operating Officer

Why You Need to Challenge the Status Quo

Too often I hear “this is the way we have always done it.” I don’t care how you always did it; I want to do it better. In fact, I’ve actually told people that I will fire them if I hear them use those words.

Think differently - Being different, taking risky, move for success in life -The graphic of rocket also represents the concept of courage, enterprise, confidence, belief, fearless, daring,


If you’re only focused on your current success, then you’re foolish. You need to challenge the status quo, rather than stay stranded in your comfort zone. Because that’s what you’ll end up being – stranded.

Always strive for innovation

You never want to become irrelevant in the greater marketplace. Ok, so some traditional best practices may be proven to have positive effects on businesses, but you should always strive for something better. While you may argue that you don’t have the funds to experiment, I can assure you that you don’t need a super-sized budget.

Once you’ve challenged your current state of affairs, progress will depend on you as a leader. Remember, this is an opportunity to change things for the better.

Challenge all the time

“The key to change is first to understand what not to change and then to feel free to change everything else.” Jim Collins certainly knows what he’s talking about. Accept ‘challenge innovation’ and ask questions that require some level of thought to challenge your team’s mind-set. Create questions that spark energy and curiosity, and a safe space where they want to contribute.

Be careful not to sound too critical. Don’t ask “why aren’t we producing this in half the time?” Use motivational speech, such as “what if we could do this in half the time?” and “how do you think we can beat our competitors?” Motivate your people.

Have an open mind

Every brave leader with the guts to take bold risks and challenge the status quo can make a real difference. You need to be passionate about constantly learning and growing, as well as doing the unorthodox thing. With an open mind, you can entice new improvements and inspire those around you to think bigger and do better.

Don’t be afraid to try all sorts of new things and think outside of that bloody box. When something seems obvious, try something different. If you don’t, I guarantee someone else will.

Reward and exploit

Our world is increasingly competitive, and you must constantly adapt, nurture, grow and move forward. Many workers can get comfortable (and stagnant) and be resistant to change. That’s why it’s essential to create an environment where your team feels comfortable with sharing their ideas and have the freedom to express what they believe is and is not working well. I’ve lost count of the leaders I’ve met who don’t take the time to get feedback from co-workers.

Status Quo Roles Chart

From www.forbes.com

Ensure great ideas are rewarded while trusting and supporting them to take the next step. You also need to walk the walk (not just talk the talk) by committing to any change with help from your empowered team.

What Are The Pitfalls To Watch Out For As COO?

No job is ever 100% entirely straightforward, especially that of a COO (Chief Operating Officer). However, despite your best efforts, you might find yourself a bit disheartened about various aspects of your role. Here are some pitfalls to watch out for as a COO that could ultimately affect the company and the security of your position.

You and the CEO are not in alignment

You are only as good as the support you receive. A CEO and COO must learn to cohabitate in peace through a relationship of mutual trust and a compatible vision of the future of the company. If you and your CEO are not on the same page about business objectives, performance measures or even the ethics and principles by which you and the company should work, your role will never be successful.

The complexity of the role is increasing

33% of COOs believe their role is becoming increasingly difficult to manage, and half of their peers would agree with them. The role is a challenge even for the most committed COO. And it’s the kind of challenge that you will need to fight alone because, in most cases, it’s personal. Are you up to the role? Can you cope with the demands of the job? Being COO is not for everyone so there is no shame in choosing to step away.

Boundaries are not clearly defined

If your role, or that of the CEO, is not clearly defined, then you and your teams are going to be working in a world of confusion. This is tricky. To make it work, the COO must have the full support of the CEO. In addition, the organizational structure should be designed in such a way that the logical workflow would take some streams directly to the COO. Your executives need to understand the distinct areas of responsibility that your COO holds so they know they are going to the person who can give them a prompt response.

“A COO’s value is designed to be complimentary to the CEO. The truth is that no CEO, no matter how experienced, can possibly cover the complex aspects of managing all the functions of a technology company. It’s better to divide and conquer. By recruiting a COO, the CEO can focus on the aspects of the role that he/she truly excels at and enjoys the most.” – Firas Raouf

And these boundaries have to be emphasised and followed through at all times. If they are set at the beginning of your term, then it minimizes any confusion. Along with everyone else, you need to know what your role entails and what it doesn’t.

There is no real need for a COO

There is no hard and fast guide to tell you when your organisation is ready for a COO. Sometimes it’s to do with your size, sometimes to do with your planned future and sometimes it’s a logical decision in the structure of your work. Small retail organisations may not need a full time COO.

If you are debating the issue, pay attention to the words of Keith Rabois, former COO of Slide, and VP of LinkedIn.

As a startup, you can be tricked into thinking you’re building a technology company, so you focus a lot on the product. But ultimately, you’re really building a team to build the product and then the company.”

Are you planning for now or are you planning for the future? The answer to this question may tell you whether or not you will need a COO.

There is less demand for COOs

According to the senior executive search firm Crist Kolder Associates, the percentage of Fortune 500 and S&P 500 companies with a COO has declined steadily from 48 percent in 2000 to 36 percent in 2014. This may be due to the changing structure of the workplace, as we move towards flatter structures, or technological developments which have made it possible for the CEO to take over some of the functions. One thing is certain, though, and that’s while people don’t understand the value of a COO, the career opportunities will decline.

The role has changed since appointment

In some cases, a COO role will evolve while the COO remains focused on past practices. If this occurs then the company as a whole needs to have a development plan in place, so the COO continues to be able to properly handle the task. Or if that is not a long term option then it may be that an alternate COO needs to be sought to continue with the new responsibilities; a solution that may suit both the company and the current COO. No one likes to feel that they aren’t equipped to fulfil the job to the best of their ability.

As a COO, being able to remain fluid in your grasp of the role and responsibilities is a huge bonus. And knowing when trouble may be around the corner is, even more, helpful.