6 Reasons People Become Chief Operating Officers


People admire famous business Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), pioneering entrepreneurs, passionate inventors, visionary innovators, and celebrity founder CEOs. Many don’t realize, though, that behind the success of any business, there’s usually someone else other than the CEO who minds the daily operations of the company. This person is the Chief Operations Officer (COO).

Preparing To Be Hired As COO

The role of the COO is on the rise as corporations realize the value of having one. Some might even be asking themselves what COOs do anyway. As the second-in-command of a company, the answer is: pretty much everything.

If you’re wondering how to become a COO, here are a few reasons why such executives ascend the corporate ladder:

They Find Out What COOs Do

The first thing that COOs did was they learned what the job entails. While a CEO is in charge of setting the vision for the company and mapping out the overall plans and strategic programs of action to realize this vision, the COO is in charge of the day-to-day operations of the company.

These are some of the things that you have to know on what a COO is expected to be:

  • A COO is in charge of operations on a daily basis, making sure such operations are aligned with the long-term objectives of the company.
  • COOs ideally have extensive experience with many different functions of the company or business organization.
  • In most instances, the COO role is the final rung on an executive’s career before ultimately becoming a chief executive.

They Get The Right Academic Preparation

The next thing COOs did was to pursue the relevant academic preparation for the job. One of the most important things that an aspiring COO should do is to study for the role.

While many COOs of large multinational corporations don’t have a uniform academic background or preparation, it would still be most suitable to take a degree in business administration, followed through with a Masters in Business Administration (MBA).

They Gained Relevant Work Experience

The third reason COOs were hired for their role is that they gained ample work experience in all aspects of business operations. Since the COO would be in charge of almost everything in the company except giving the vision and overall plan, a well-performing COO would need to know the nuts and bolts of the company’s operations. The best way to prepare for this is by being exposed and getting work experience in as many aspects of the business operations as possible.

They Chose A Path

There are various pathways to become a COO. One reason why COOs were able to prepare for their role is that they chose a path to reach their goal. As an example, you can join a promising small start-up group or co-found your own company and become the COO. But unless the start-up takes off, there wouldn’t be pretty much anything to do as a COO of a company with very minimal operations.

Other COOs took the long and slow path to their position. You can do this by starting somewhere in the bottom or the middle level of a large corporation and slowly inch and work your way up the corporate ladder. This won’t be easy, and neither is there any guarantee you’d become a COO. But if you spend years of excellent work, you’ll never know; you might just one day get picked to be the COO.

They Constantly Expanded Their Network

Another useful characteristic of future COOs is endless networking. This is probably one of the most important pieces of advice any aspiring COO should remember.

Most successful corporate executives attained their positions not just through sheer hard or smart work, but also—and equally importantly—by expanding their networks and professional relationships. One thing could indeed lead to another—and you’ll never know if you don’t take chances.

They Have Consistent Values

The last reason people became COOs is that they were known for excellence, quality, and integrity early on—and they were consistent in maintaining and upholding such values and traits.

In every job or position you take in any business or organization, pour out everything you have in each role. Strive to produce excellent work such that when people talk about what you do, they know they can expect a high standard of quality from the service you offer or the product of your business.

If You Want To Take Charge

If you’re aspiring to become a COO, keep in mind what actual COOs did to be hired for their post. Choose the right academic preparation for the job. Gain as much experience in all aspects of business operations. Decide on a path as early as you can. Constantly expand your network. And lastly, make sure your work is known for excellence, quality, and integrity.


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