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From the desk of...

The CEO’s Secret Weapon


Recently, we conducted a survey to determine the awareness and adoption of the Office of the CEO. Behind every successful CEO, there is a back stage crew or support team. This team can take many forms and will change over time as the business grows. 


When asked the question "who makes up this team" the typical response includes an Executive Assistant, Public Relations Representative and Human Resources Specialist. A successful CEO also needs a strong leadership team that is responsible for strategy, product, marketing, sales and customer success. These are all important roles to building a successful business but a critical role is usually omitted.


It is our assertion that a Chief of Staff and Business Operations leader can have a transformative impact on the success of a CEO and and their business. As with the Wizard of Oz, the Chief of Staff (BizOps Lead) behind the curtain will make the CEO more effective and always look good. A strong Office of the CEO manages the business so that the CEO can build the business. It is the CEO's secret weapon!

The OCEO Business Operations foundation is the byproduct of 100's of business reviews in front of a C-level audience. During these reviews, every plan and key performance indicator of the business was reviewed, discussed and defended. The establishment of the OCEO system is difficult to create from scratch. We have the tools, templates, and experience to lead your organization through the process. The system can be applied to businesses of all sizes, industries and stages of growth. Engaging with the OCEO team is straightforward and can be implemented quickly and cost effectively.

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The Office of the CEO ( system builds the foundation of a business by establishing strategic and operational plans, core objectives, key performance indicators, and reporting tools that provide visibility and accountability.
A CEO carries a heavy load and it can be difficult to deal with the constant demand for their time and attention. Well meaning employees are clamoring for face time to present their initiatives. External events, speaking opportunities, sales calls and meetings with the Board of Directors can be overwhelming. An effective Office of the CEO provides clarity and can bring order to chaos so the CEO can lead.
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A Running the Business model is like a guardrail that helps keep the leadership team on track and working in an efficient manner. A successful RTB is not one meeting, but rather a series of meetings and operating mechanisms used to drive cross-functional alignment and operational execution. Components include strategic planning, interlock sessions, quarterly business reviews, quarterly product reviews and deal acceleration reviews.
A staff meeting that pulls key leaders away from their primary roles is costly and needs to be productive. A well run staff meeting with a planned agenda and well prepared presenters can transform a series of random discussions into an ultra productive process. A system that captures action items and critical assignments drives accountability and execution.
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A strategic plan is a 3 year view of the business that consists of an analysis of the competitive landscape, financial targets, growth drivers, invest and dis-invest priorities, dependencies and organizational structure. The leadership team builds the plan during an off-site meeting where distractions can be eliminated.
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An operational plan is a 1 year view of the business that consists of cross departmental interlock sessions (marketing to sign, implementation to value and customer success). top line priorities for go to market, product roadmap, high performance culture and operational budgets.
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A plan of record is a framework that supports the operational plan and cascades down from senior leadership to the individual contributor. The plan of record is made up of objectives and key performance indicators that directly support the overall organizational plan.
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Once the strategic and operational plans objectives and plans of record have been established, they must be communicated and posted in a visible fashion so that the entire team can monitor progress. Employees want to see the company succeed and will rally behind clear objectives. Employees also want to succeed themselves. We are all coin operated and need clear direction to meet and exceed expectations.
What is measured improves and what is measured and reported on improves faster. Vital components of the reporting infrastructure include executive dashboards that are a single source of truth, quarterly financial reviews, quarterly business reviews, board of director updates, reports to the financial analysts and an enterprise risk management process.
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A quarterly business review is a comprehensive analysis of all aspects of the business. Components include a review of the operational plan, progress toward objectives, product roadmap, financial performance, marketing and pipeline execution, sales performance and customer success.
The execution of the process is as important as the content itself. Senior Leaders need to feel the burn that comes with reporting on their progress at the end of each quarter. A standard template should be used so that the review is comprehensive and consistent throughout the year. The review should take at least a full day to allow for sufficient time to evaluate the state of the business and identify areas of focus going forward. Thorough minutes need to be taken that include actions, owners and expected dates for resolution.
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