To be an effective Second-In-Command (CFO, COO, President, etc.) you have to have the confidence of the Boss. Here is how to do so…

Paul Herrerias facilitates the Marin Chapter of the COO Forum as their Chapter Director.  His Chapter members recently brainstormed how to gain, nurture, and keep the confidence of their bosses (Owners, Founders, CEO, Board Chair, etc.).  This is a real challenge for many COOs and Second-In-Commands. Here are some ideas we suggested.  Can you recommend some more for us?  Thanks!

1. Communicate UP

  • Manage the barrage of ideas from the top (record, consider, respond to each of them)
  • Provide written, regular, frequent reports on the business’s progress: Let them know you are in control of operations.
  • Provide quantitative analysis where possible to support your analysis and recommendations
  • Use their own words when you are reporting back (visions, goals, values, assessments, etc.)

2. Manage perceptions

  • Report back formally, so they know you are “following up” and “following through” on their ideas and requests.
  • Communicate the company’s current “story” so they know you are in control.
  • Play to their egos when appropriate, so they will be more prone to listening to you and hearing you.

3. Work to create unity in vision, values, and priorities up and down inside the organization.

  • Ask them to Define and then Rank their priorities.
  • Find common words, expressions, and language for everyone to use.
  • Reinforce management philosophies and desired cultural shifts by handing out copies of management books as support tools and visual reminders to staff and bosses.
    • Raving Fans (Blanchard)
    • One-Minute Manager (Blanchard)
    • The Five Dysfunctions of a TEAM (Lencioni)

4. Your ideas?

Thank you…

5 thoughts on “To be an effective Second-In-Command (CFO, COO, President, etc.) you have to have the confidence of the Boss. Here is how to do so…

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