The Chief of Staff role is unique in that it often sits at the leadership level, yet doesn’t have any direct reports. The position works across every department and takes on a portfolio of projects, but they don’t manage a team or may not have dedicated resources to allocate. The role usually doesn’t come with complete oversight into any one area of the business, and the responsibilities vary from company to company.
Yet even without a dedicated team or oversight to a specific area, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who has a better pulse on what’s happening across the business or has more impact on the direction of the company.
The Chief of Staff is highly independent, yet highly collaborative. So working throughout the business and striking the balance of high impact, yet high independence can be difficult, especially if you don’t have a team dedicated to seeing out projects and initiatives.
Our latest guest on Aspiring Ops, Steph Shaw, spoke to this challenge and shared that to effectively navigate the Chief of Staff role you must be able to ‘Move through influence, not authority.’
As a former management consultant, Steph’s experience helping leaders ‘work as an executive team, not a team of executives’ shines through on this episode of Aspiring Ops. From grad school to consulting, Steph shares her journey to the Chief of Staff role at Agio, and how her experience helped create a mindset of moving through influence, not authority.
One narrative we’ve heard from meeting with countless strategy and ops leaders is just how unique everyone’s journey is to the role. We’ve met with folks that began their careers in sales, customer success, marketing, finance, and just about any other department you can think of.
So while the path to a Chief of Staff role is different for everyone, life after the Chief of Staff role can be just as unique.
As Steph shares, one of the benefits of the role is the complete autonomy and visibility into all aspects of the company. This unique opportunity has allowed her to orient herself to every part of the business, and press into the areas that are interesting and potential avenues for future career opportunities.
From trying their hand at new initiatives to working more closely with leaders across the company, the Chief of Staff role provides limitless opportunities to continue learning.
Interested in learning more about Agio? Check out their site here.
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