Ep. 349 – What Makes A Great COO

Today’s episode of the Second in Command podcast is a recast of a conversation between Cameron and Christopher Lochhead, the host of the Legends and Losers podcast. They discuss the distinct roles and personalities within corporate leadership, particularly focusing on the dynamic between CEOs and COOs. Cameron highlights the results of a personality profiling exercise conducted within the COO Alliance, revealing stark differences between the entrepreneurial, visionary nature of CEOs and the more operational, linear approach of COOs. He emphasizes the unique abilities of COOs to reverse-engineer the dreams of CEOs, underscoring their role in bringing structure and execution to the visionary ideas of their counterparts.

The discussion further explores the identity of COOs, emphasizing their role as facilitators rather than aspirants to the CEO position. Cameron and Christopher agree that a successful COO is one who genuinely aims to amplify the CEO’s vision, rather than using the position as a stepping stone to the top role. This concept is expanded upon through real-world examples, including a nod to Sheryl Sandberg’s role at Facebook, suggesting that the best COOs are those who understand and stay true to their specialized role, much like a player in a well-coordinated team.

They also reflect on the various types of executive roles and the challenges in filling these positions, particularly in the tech industry. Cameron introduces his COO Alliance as a solution to the lack of networking and learning opportunities for second-in-command executives. They share their personal experiences and observations, as well as the importance of complementary skill sets within leadership teams.


In This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • How CEOs tend to be entrepreneurial and visionary, while COOs are more operational and linear.
  • The concept that COOs are professionals in their own right, with a unique skill set, rather than merely waiting to become CEOs.
  • How successful leadership teams balance contrasting skills and personalities.
  • The importance of understanding one’s role and staying true to it for effective teamwork.
  • The difficulties companies face in filling key executive roles, especially in the tech industry.
  • The often misunderstood and undertrained nature of the COO role.
  • And much more…



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