Chief 'Getting Sh*t Done' Officer; 21st Century take on a COO
Many entrepreneurs and tech companies are doing away with the position titled Chief Operating Officer (COO), because the 20th century version just doesn’t suit the new world. Recently Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite asked "Does your company need a Director of Getting Sh*t Done?" using the example of how a $15 t-shirt cost the company $200 because of the bureaucracy that had built up.
I submit that in reality, many companies can benefit from a Chief 'Getting Sh*t Done' Officer (C'GSD'O); a position that is about liberating the executive staff and all the people in the organization from the ambiguity and bureaucracy the keeps people from mastering their skills and delivering results for customers.
What would the C'GSD'O be responsible for?
As with many traditional COOs, this part of the role ensures the company Vision, Mission, and Cultural Values are current, clear, understandable, and well communicated internally while ensuring there is a strategy and accountability mechanisms established so the entire organization can move with common purpose toward the vision. Additionally, this person advises the CEO and is the one that will speak truth-to-power; not allowing "good news" filters to create a bubble around the CEO.
Diversity of thinking is critical for innovation, the lifeblood of the 21st century, so ensuring that diversity and inclusion from top to bottom, left to right of the organization is enabled and celebrated becomes a critical function of this role.
Culture is what people believe, how they think, how they act, how they interact, and the way they talk. As the Culture Keeper, there needs to be keen awareness, openness, and clarity of the aspirational culture. The values need to be infused and reflected in everything the company does, from hiring to customer interactions, to performance feedback, to development of leaders.
Employee Experience Owner
As the role/person bearing ultimate responsibility for the experience of employees and ensuring common purpose and focus, the C’GSD’O would oversee the following critical functions:
- People or Human Resources - Ensuring that everything from talent acquisition to the strategic development are creating the team needed for the next inflection point for the company. That the operations are lean and employee friendly.
- Workplace or Facilities - Ensuring that the environment supports the culture and maximizing effectiveness and efficiency to develop products or services, and operations that create the best possible customer experience.
- IT and/or Systems - Ensuring employees have the technical tools required to collaborate and work effectively and efficiently.
There are two major components here, the understanding of basic human needs (safety, belonging, & mattering) and process. As we learn more about the human brain vis-a-vis neuroscience, using that learning to help the people deal with growth, change, and transformation is required to be a successful company in the 21st century. That’s the first component. The second is the understanding that processes are required and need to evolve and be pruned on a regular basis; this is where Ryan's idea of a 'Czar of Bad Systems' would come into play.
It is very challenging, especially in a rapid growth situation to keep silos from forming and often even to keep leaders from forming and building their own individual empires. This role would evolve as the company grows (or shrinks) and may even have the functions like a Program Management Office (PMO) if deemed necessary. This is where having someone that has the courage of speaking-truth-to-peers and power to act would be critical to success.
Do you need a C’GSD’O?
If your company could use a CEO Lieutenant, Culture Keeper, Employee Experience Owner, Resilience Builder, and/or Silo Smasher; then consider a C'GSD'O.