The job description of a COO (Chief Operating Officer)

The article is devoted to The job description of a COO (Chief Operating Officer). The Chief Operating Officer, more commonly known in the abbreviated form of COO, is responsible for the day-to-day activities of the corporation. In typical corporate hierarchies, the COO reports to the chief executive officer and in turn, the division heads or department managers report to the COO. While the COO is not required to intimately know every small detail of the operation, he/she definitely must have an overall knowledge of the business, and must have the foresight to see how the smaller pieces fit into the bigger picture.

The job description of a COO (Chief Operating Officer)

Obviously, the job description of individual COOs differs depending on the type of enterprise, but in general, the COO would not be responsible for the sales division, finance department, nor the marketing division. His/her role is more about the nuts and bolts of the organization. But at the same time, the COO’s competence directly impacts the other divisions of the company. Additionally, in smaller companies where a CFO is not a viable option due to budget constraints, the COO may take on that responsibility if he/she has the experience or education in the area.

Chief operating officers are typically people who are detail oriented. They tend to be perfectionists and are good at what they do because they are results oriented. It is for this reason that the CEO is only too glad to have a COO in the organization. CEOs of smaller companies that cannot afford a COO sometimes have difficulty managing all the bits and pieces. That is not to say that they are not qualified, it is just that they would rather run the business, negotiating deals and moving the company into the future.

The COO is normally responsible for anything that has to do with the products of the company. Specifically, inventory control, maintaining and exceeding quality standards, employee management, ensuring department heads stay on budget, warehousing, moving products out in a timely manner, installing systems, rules and regulations to make the organization run smoother and more efficiently, as well as removing bottlenecks from one segment of the operation which might impede the productivity of another.

Interestingly, the COO, in many instances, needs to be a type of referee deciding where resources will be allocated, and ensuring that all parties are on board with the decisions. Also, depending on where the hierarchal lines are drawn, his/her responsibilities might overlap with both the CFO and the CEO. Sometimes, the operating officer negotiates better price points for raw materials, although in very large organizations, this may be done by the CFO. Likewise, depending on what functions the CEO prefers to do, the chief executive officer may hand off some duties to the COO.

Further, the COO is specifically responsible for carrying out the mandates directed by the CEO and the board of directors. Once the board has decided to take the company in a certain direction, the COO finds ways to implement the strategies. He/she is responsible for the mechanism to get there. He/she sets in place the structure and then ensures that pieces flow in an orderly, efficient and productive manner.

Lastly, although COO management styles differ, many modern day COOs are seen walking throughout the organization. They are not usually people who sit behind their desks all day. COO positions are generally not office jobs.

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