The DNA of the COO

A toolkit for the aspiring COO

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“You have to be able to look beyond where you are now and be willing to take on cross-functional roles or assignments that can expose you to other facets of the business,” says
Darya-Varia Laboratoria Vice President Director Charles Robert Davis.

Perhaps more than any other senior executive role, the COO pipeline relies on the nurturing of internal talent.

Their skills are often less transferable, because the requirements depend on the company’s specific situation and the dynamics of the management team.

Among the survey respondents, just 3% say that they aspire to be COO of another company. Rather than highlighting their lack of ambition, this reflects the difficulties of transferring to the COO role in another company.

For operations professionals seeking to climb to the next rung of the career ladder, or for COOs hunting for a bigger job, several important themes stand out.

  • First, there is no substitute for commitment. When asked about the factors that influenced a COO’s career path, respondents point to motivation and hard work as the leading attributes.
  • Second, leadership and interpersonal skills are critical.
  • Third, aspiring COOs need a combination of very wide and very deep experience. They must do all they can to build a career in which they gain exposure to different parts of the business, and different regions of the world.

Attributes COOs strongly believe were needed for their career development

Attributes  COOs strongly believe were needed for their career development

(Percentage of respondents who have chosen 9 or 10 on a scale from 1 = not essential at all to 10 = absolutely essential)

Although it is undoubtedly a challenging route to take, COOs and aspiring operations professionals will give themselves the best opportunities for career enhancement if they can secure such experience.

The DNA of the COO - Time to claim the spotlight