Often the COO is treated as a transitional position as a means of preparing the incoming CEO before the outgoing CEO retires. The COO takes over the daily operations and strategic planning while the retiring CEO acts as an advisor. When the CEO formally retires the COO is promoted to CEO while the COO is not replaced. COO is one of those business or corporate titles given to top executives in an organization used to identify their function.
COO jobs have different roles in various industries and organizations. There are organizations that function without a COO and others that have a couple or so assigned to different divisions. In the manufacturing industry the COO is responsible for design, development and operation as well as improving the systems that make and deliver the company’s products. They make sure that operations are efficient and effective in distributing goods or services to clients. COO’s need to have extensive knowledge of the business and industry they are in and understand modern management techniques and theories and apply these.
Some of the more common functions of a COO are: Gather limited resources and find ways to use them as efficiently as possible, monitor staff knowledge and skills and implement improvements or motivation where needed to fulfill company requirements. Implement measures to operational performance in terms of efficiency versus effectiveness, plan and implement policies that correctly set priority for client, employee and company requirements, and lead by emphasizing or clarifying modifications to the organizations vision and mission to personnel and possibly implement a reward system, or corrective actions to get staff to accomplish organizational goals.
To qualify for COO jobs the educational and experience requirements varies according to the responsibilities or on the type of organization for which they work but generally a minimum requirement would be a bachelor’s degree. Many COO’s have a master’s degree in business administration, liberal arts or other related course. If they were working for an educational institution then typically they should have a doctorate, if they work in the public sector they should have a degree in public administration or liberal arts. A COO job is usually filled by experienced managers from lower levels when an opening becomes available. In some organizations a college degree is not required to qualify for COO jobs such as in the transport or retail sales sectors and instead more emphasis is given to experience and character of a person. As a COO you usually need to be able to communicate effectively and persuasively. You must have the ability to analyze a high volume of data quickly and evaluate the relationship between many factors. A COO needs to be decisive, self-confident, and motivated but also flexible, and make sound business decisions. COO’s need to be always aware of the latest management trends made possible by attending local or national training programs.
Outlook for COO employments is good but little or no growth is expected during the 2008 to 2018 decade but this is always expected with these top positions. As in many other jobs demand for these positions reflects if the industry is in growth or decline. For example, since the health industry is expected to grow faster then COO or similar positions there could be a demand in the manufacturing industry which is generally in decline. Demand for COO and similar jobs are also in decline. Consolidation of organizations is a common occurrence currently and is another factor that is lowering the demand for corporate positions such as COO and another’s. Because there isn’t a high demand for these top positions they attract a lot of applicants because of the prestige and high pay. Lower level managers who possess strong leadership skills and have shown capability in improving efficiency or making their organization competitive will have the best chances.
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