Are you an aspiring or first-time COO? Have no fear, we’re here to support you on this hard, but rewarding, journey.
From our collective 10 years of running operations communities, we see far too many people:
- Wanting to become COOs, but lacking the skills or confidence to pursue these roles
- Falling into or getting promoted into COO roles without being fully prepared for the challenges they will face managing upwards, laterally, downwards, and diagonally.
Having spent a collective 30 years as operations leaders ourselves, we’re passionate about equipping the next generation of startup COOs with the tools they need not only to survive but thrive in their roles.
Do It Yourself:
Read our “Survival Guide for COOs”
There are very few books entirely dedicated to the role of a Chief Operating Officer, and all of them are focused on corporates, not startups.
We’re on a mission to share with you the world’s first-ever book for startup COOs, by startup COOs. Stay tuned as we drop a chapter each month in 2023.
- Kalie Gold, COO at Jacaranda Health
- Dan Blake, COO at Florence
- Kristen Shannon, Former COO of Oxford Ionics and General System
- Paul David Mather, Ex-Deliveroo, Ops Consultant
- Riley McGee, COO at PVL
- Uzo Okoro, Head of Operations at Fincra
- Ajay Palekar - Former COO of WorkClub
- James da Costa - Co-Founder and COO at Fingo
- Sabrina Castiglione - COO of Pento.io
- Nick Larkins - Chief of Staff at Dishpatch
- Ghilaine Chan, Chief of Staff at Hubbub Fundraising
Do It With Us:
Participate in our course for aspiring / first-time COOs.
We’ve designed a course to help operations leaders build up their skills and confidence to land the difficult-to-define role of a startup COO role and succeed in it.
We will be running our first iteration from January to March 2023, exclusively with ON Community members. To express interest in joining our next cohort, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The course is built around the following competency framework:
- Self-Awareness: Ability to identify, understand and communicate your personal and professional strengths and weaknesses
- Stress Management: Ability to juggle multiple tasks and projects in a high-pressure environment
- Self-Care: Ability to set boundaries, say no to others, and carve out time to care for/invest in yourself
- Strategic and Operational Planning: Ability to translate your company strategy into a realistic operational plan
- Organisational Design: Ability to help shape your org chart/accountabilities as the company grows and scales (centralisation vs. decentralisation of ops)
- Fundraising, Budgeting and Financial Planning: Ability to help your CEO and CFO raise and manage financial resources
- Organisational Performance and Analytics: Ability to aggregate, report upon, and influence the cross-functional metrics that matter most
- People Operations: Ability to help ensure your company attracts, hires, onboards, manages, and develops employees in a sustainable way
- Customer Operations: Ability to help ensure your company attracts, onboards, manages, and retains customers in a sustainable way
- Your Role with respect to the CEO: Ability to navigate the politics of managing upwards
- Your Role on the Exec Team: Ability to Influence Laterally
- Your Role as a Manager: Ability to Manage Managers versus Manage Individual Contributors
- Internal Communications: Ability to communicate from All-Hands Meetings to Cross-Functional Projects
- External Communications: Ability to manage and communicate to Board Members and Investors
- 10 Week Program split across 5 Sessions
- 1:1 Mentorship by an experienced COO
- Private Slack group so you and your cohort can keep in touch in between sessions
- Ability to put “Operations Nation COO Course” on your CV and LinkedIn profile
- Sessions will be facilitated by the 3 Co-Founders of Operations Nation:
- Charlene Chen, the Co-Founder and former COO of emerging markets fintech company AZA Finance, as well as former COO of UK healthtech Lantum
- Aušrinė Keršanskaitė, Head of Operations at Reframe, former Head of Operations at Sphere (acquired by Twitter), Director of Operations at YPlan and Dice
- Astrid Verstraete, an Operations Manager and Consultant at startups including YPlan, Wagestream, and Coefficient.
- Sessions will feature experienced COO guest speakers (TBA shortly) from our community and beyond, sharing their wisdom and war stories.
- Our guiding principle is to keep all the content engaging and applicable. Therefore the course will be a mix of “I do, we do, you do”, as in, experienced COOs will share their personal experiences and favorite frameworks, we’ll guide you through exercises to learn new skills, and give you opportunities to apply the skills we discuss on the job in between sessions.
- First-time COOs are MORE than welcome to take the course - many of us receive our COO titles before we feel fully equipped for the role, and usually, we receive very little professional development from within our organisations.
- We highly encourage everyone to prioritise attending all sessions in order to get the most value out of the course, but if you absolutely can’t avoid it, we will send you the materials and a recording of the class (only online sessions).
- Depending on what we learn from this first iteration, we may modify the course design, but you can expect that we will run at least 2 more cohorts during 2023.
General COO Resources
Understanding the COO Role
Second in Command: The Misunderstood Role of the Chief Operating Officer
When Larry Ellison, founder and CEO of Oracle, and his chief operating officer, Ray Lane, parted ways in 2000, the event inspired the kind of breathless reporting usually reserved for celebrity divorces. Forbes.com reporter David Einstein wondered in print, "Did Lane quit or was he fired?"
How to Become a Chief Operating Officer: Which Type of COO Are You?
Unlike the chief executive officer (CEO) of a company, the chief operating officer (COO) does not occupy a glamour role. If the motives driving your c-suite aspirations include a desire for fame and glory, the COO spot is not for you. You probably want to become the public-facing, idea-generating, power-wielding CEO.
The Rise of the COO Role
I was excited and also somewhat shocked to discover that my Office Hour with Tomasz Tunguz at Redpoint Ventures last week was their most highly attended one ever! As much as I'd love to personally take full credit for that, I think the attendance spoke to the rising need for the COO role, which was the subject of our fireside chat.
So you want to be a COO
Why COO? The scope of the COO role No two COO positions are the same The seven COO archetypes Making sense of the startup COO Words to operate by How to become a COO What COOs read Ever since I discovered a natural talent for SET as a five-year-old, I've identified as excellent at pattern recognition.
The Evolving Role of a COO
The role of COO has a strong basis in critical and strategic thinking and also requires an element of creativity, which means having to switch between your left and right brain throughout the day. During my time as COO, I found myself spinning lots of plates.
How to Become a Chief Operating Officer (COO) - businessnewsdaily.com
A COO, or chief operating officer, is typically the second-highest-ranking executive in a company. A COO is in charge of day-to-day operations as well as executing the company's long-term goals. Because they oversee many different departments, COOs must have knowledge of and experience with many different business functions.
The Nonprofit Chief Operating Officer
A lone ranger does not drive great results-rather, it is the combined talents of a team of senior executives working together that makes the difference. Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates, James Baker and Ronald Reagan, Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes-remarkable leadership is often the result of a remarkable partnership, and a strong second in command is essential to forming a successful leadership team in any organization or endeavor.