If you were to ask several Chiefs of Staff to explain the responsibilities of their role, chances are you would hear a variety of different answers The fact is, the Chief of Staff role isn’t one-size fits all; rather, the role is largely dependent upon the needs of an organization, as well as the strengths of the individual in the role. While there are certainly common traits that Chiefs of Staff share, each is likely to have developed their own interpretation of the role as a result of the needs of the business
This is why it can be so challenging for someone stepping into the role for the first time. While there are learnings to be had from how other leaders approach the position, the truth is it should have your own fingerprint. The willingness to put your mark on a role, especially if it’s the first time the company has had a Chief of Staff position, requires flexibility, continuous learning, and the ability to thrive in ambiguity.
Megan Longo is the Chief of Staff at Buildertrend, and has experienced first-hand what it looks like to step into the Chief of Staff role and build it out from scratch. Creating a role from scratch is no small task, but Megan’s past experiences have certainly helped set her up for success.
Throughout her career Megan has thrived in roles with little to no previous job description. So when it came time for her to take on this next journey as a Chief of Staff, Megan already held the “superpower” to prevail amidst ambiguity.
On this episode of Aspiring Ops, Megan shares her experience creating the Chief of Staff role within Buildertrend, and how it has evolved over time. She also offers her advice on creating immediate value, utilizing resources, and the importance of a clear, consistent operating framework to execute company objectives.
After settling into the role and taking the advice from her COO to ‘let the priorities come to you,’ Megan was able to shift from searching for the right work, to proactively identifying where she would have the biggest impact. Her ability to discern where she was needed, in many ways, served as the guide in creating the Chief of Staff role for Buildertrend.
As Buildertrend turns their attention to driving alignment and creating visibility into the strategic direction for the company, she is focused on elevating the process for how their team operates with OKRs. However, as Megan shares in her episode of Aspiring Ops, the ability to identify where to spend her time and energy as the Chief of Staff didn’t happen overnight.
“The Chief of Staff role for companies is completely dependent on the needs of that company,” says Megan. “I have definitely learned to shed some of the insecurities about holding this title, and then instead harnessing those strengths that I know I have to wrap and mold the role around those strengths.”
When defining one’s purpose as a new Chief of Staff, there should be a sense of ownership and confidence in taking on this new role, as the responsibilities will be guided by personal strengths and capabilities. And while exploring where the position can add value within a team will begin to develop a more concrete job description, Megan’s experiences prove that there is no step-by-step guide that must be followed to see success as a Chief of Staff.
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