In a previous blog, it was discussed that the key to onboarding a new COO is to immerse them in the company for the first two weeks, making them do all the different jobs in the company before they do their own.
The question is, once they’re done that, what’s next?
Do they just dive straight into their job as a COO?
The short answer: Yes.
But what if they’re not perfect at it yet? Well, no one is going to be. No one can be a perfect COO for a new company immediately no matter how much experience they have. It takes time to get used to a new workplace and it’s your job to give them that time.
Think of Your New COO as a Boulder
Once you’ve allowed your new COO to dive straight into their new position, try not to worry too much about them for the next 60 to 90 days of their employment. 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 while below the surface, the boulder itself makes its way to the bottom of the pond.
But what in the world does that have to do with new COOs?
Watch for the Ripple Effect
You see, once you hire a new COO, your job is to sit back and watch the ripple effect that they cause. The fact is that they are going to get to the bottom of the pond eventually, where things are calm and steady, 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). A new COO is going to create change no matter what. You wouldn’t have hired someone new if your company didn’t need change.
Focus on Other Things
So, while the ripple effect is happening, your eyes need to be on the ripples, not the boulder. Make sure you are paying very close attention to what is happening with the rest of your company.
What’s happening with your customers?
Your finance people?
Your lawyers, your accountants, your banker?
You never know what’s happening with the ripples. Some ripples will be good, some will be bad, but all will be necessary. They are just part of your new COO doing their job.
Here’s an Example
Dave, a CEO, ended up losing one of his crucial marketing people within a week of hiring a new COO. This happened 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. Someone who’s that easily threatened needed to go. Anyway, that’s an example of a quick ripple effect.
The quick ripples are big changes felt almost immediately (like the loss of an employee), whereas the smaller ripples take more time. This analogy is perfect because, in a real ripple, the ripples start big and fade out as they move towards the edge of the pond. This is precisely what will happen in your company.
Significant changes right away will, in turn, lead to long-term benefits down the road if you’ve hired the right COO. These changes are all good things that will help grow your company, which is precisely why you fired a new COO in the first place.
So, give your COO those 60 to 90 days to let the ripple effect happen. If nothing changed when you brought in a new COO, then they aren’t the right COO. Good COOs cause good change.
Have you ever noticed the ripple effect when onboarding a new person? Let us know in the comments below!
If you have questions or would like more information, I’d be happy to help. Please send us an email, and someone from my team will get in touch with you!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2018 and has been edited for accuracy and comprehensiveness.