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The Chief Operations Officer is often the second-highest-ranking executive. They typically report back to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The role usually commands a large salary!

So, how do you successfully move from an Operations Manager to a Chief Operations Officer?

What is an Operations Manager?

An Operations Manager’s responsibility includes improving the operational system, processes, and policies to support the company’s mission. A successful Operations Manager has strong people skills and the ability to form partnerships with other teams in the company. In addition, they have a thorough understanding of business operations.

What is a COO?

A COO oversees the daily operational functions of a business, which include administration, designing, and implementing business operations. A Chief Operations Officer will have exceptional judgment and leadership skills to make sure the organisation executes processes and plans quickly.

 

How to make the move from Operations Manager to COO

If you are an Operations Manager, you are in a great position to move into a COO role because you already understand the business operations and you can manage a team. A COO is a highly sought-after role. So, to truly rise through the ranks, you will need to build up your connections, remould yourself as a ‘leader’ and ensure that your skills/personality compliment the CEO.

A successful COO must be able to lead, strategically plan and set specific goals. COOs need to take a holistic view of the entire business and ensure that they understand the business strategy to take practical steps to implement the goals and vision of the CEO. Then effectively communicate their plans to the rest of the team.

The following are five important skills Operations Managers can begin working on to increase their chances of moving into a COO role.

Five Important Skills for Becoming a COO

Be a leader

Great COOs use strong leadership skills to inspire their teams to succeed and improve their workplace culture. An effective leader celebrates their team’s successes, so you should consider celebrating certain milestones within the company. This will improve team morale, lead to higher productivity, and highlight your excellent leadership skills.

Polish up on your communication skills

Consider developing your verbal, non-verbal, and written communication skills as you would need to communicate with other teams in your organisation. You can take public speaking courses or practice speaking aloud to help strengthen your oral communication skills. When presenting, focus on your body language to help improve your non-verbal skills and ask for feedback on your writing skills. An essential part of being a COO is delegating or dividing tasks to your team members. Try to communicate the tasks clearly with each team. When team members know what they are responsible for, it can help improve productivity. Once you understand the issues and have communicated them to other senior leaders, you can start constructing your operating plans.

Develop your critical thinking skills

The COO manages the daily business operations, so you must multi-task and balance departmental responsibilities. Striking this balance requires you to think critically and prioritise department needs while also considering the goals and direction of the CEO.

 Expand on your strategic planning skills

Strategic planning is an essential part of being a COO. You may develop these skills in your education or experience as an Operations Manager, but you can also take additional courses to improve them. You can practice these skills by focusing on making long-term strategies for your business plans. For example, learning how to set achievable goals can help you develop effective strategies and design a growth timeline for your organisation. Growth strategies are important to a business because they ensure revenue and efficient operations. In addition to this, as companies grow, you may need to revise their organisational structure, which means that you should regularly review your organisation’s schedule.

Understand your data and design systems

To succeed as a COO, you must use data to create and refine business strategies. First, you must consider your company goals to determine which data you should track. Next, review their systems, data, and structures to find areas for improvement. By focusing on improvements constantly, you can help your company continue to grow. Then you can use the data to illustrate your findings to other senior leaders and departments.

Why Storm2?

At Storm2, we are specialists in connecting professional COO candidates with successful FinTech start-ups and scale-ups across the globe. We pride ourselves on providing the best talent and culture fit for FinTech firms due to our niche recruitment specialisation.

Our team of FinTech executive recruiters can advise you on the process and find the perfect company for you.

Do you fit the requirements of a Chief Operations Officer role and want to find their vacancies? Get in touch here.

We’ve helped some of the most successful FinTech startups grow.

— now it’s your turn.