Onboarding A New COO: Part 2 – The Ripple Effect

Onboarding A New COO: Part 2 – The Ripple Effect

If you’ve been following along on our blog, you’ll remember my last post, where I talked about step one of onboarding a new COO. As I said in Part 1 – Resist The Urge To Let Them Do Their Job, it is essential that you immerse your new COO in the company for the first two weeks. Make sure they do all of the jobs in the company so that they truly understand your company and its culture.

Once those two weeks are over you, get to enjoy phase two of the onboarding process.

For the next 60-90 days of their employment, try not to worry too much about your COO.

Pretend that they are a huge boulder that you’ve thrown into a pond. Think about that for a second, what happens when you throw a boulder into a pond?

Ripples…huge ripples that spread across the surface of the pond, and below the surface the boulder makes its way to the bottom of the pond.

You see, once you hire a COO your job is to sit back and watch the ripple effects. The fact is that they are going to get to the bottom of the pond eventually, but the ripples are what will make the most significant difference in your company.

You’ll notice ripple effects with customers, in your systems, with projects being started (or ended), and in some cases, even ripples with other employees (hiring/firing/quitting).

So, make sure that you are paying very close attention to what is happening with the rest of your company, with your customers, your suppliers, your finance people, your lawyers, your accountants, your banker – because you just don’t know what’s happening with the ripples. Some ripples will be good, and some will be bad, but all will be necessary – and are part of your COO doing their job.

Here is a real-life example:

Dave, a CEO I know, ended up losing one of his crucial marketing people within a week of hiring a new COO because the marketing person felt threatened all of a sudden, so he bailed. In the end, it was okay, because Dave was planning to get rid of him anyway, but that’s an example of a quick ripple effect.

The quick ripples are big changes felt almost immediately (like the loss of an employee/employees), whereas the smaller ripples take more time. This analogy is perfect because, as I am sure you know, the ripples start big and fade out as they move toward the edge of the pond – this is precisely what will happen in your company. Significant changes right away which will, in turn, lead to long-term benefits down the road. Don’t worry; these are all good things – things that will help grow your company, which is precisely why you hired a COO in the first place.

So, I’ll sum it up for you quickly.

Step one in onboarding a new COO is giving them a couple of weeks to immerse themselves in your company by allowing them to do every job except their actual job. This will give them the chance to see how things are done and make mental notes of how processes and other elements can be improved, along with providing them with a real taste of the company culture.

Step two is to allow them 60-90 days just to do their thing, during which time you can sit back and watch the ripple effect happen.

In my next blog, I will talk about step three, which is more about you as the CEO than your COO.

Once you’re done the onboarding process be sure to sign your COO up for the COO Alliance so they can continue to grow.

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