"So basically, Christian’s only skill is replying to emails faster than anyone else, at any time of day."
Loved this piece, Christian! I'm currently transitioning from a functional role to a CoS role. At my co., we alternate between calling it 'Lead - Founder's office' and 'Integrator'. Semantics aside, the transition has been unimaginable. We're a seed-funded start-up that's scaling 2x this year and I joined 5 years ago when the company had just opened shop. To your first point, Relationship-building has been extremely key in this transition (still is, as we continue to scale and hire for leadership roles) and there's this territory I observe myself walking between making functional owners aware of a certain prioritizing they'd have to do in the larger scheme of the business roadmap while at the same time ensuring to not inadvertently sound like an SME! That in itself becomes possible only by doing a lot of listening, absorbing, thinking and raising questions which largely happens behind the scenes. I still have a lot to uncover but it's fun to cherish it while I'm here and as it happens, because never in my wildest dreams did I imagine getting hands-on in hiring, market research, business reviews and planning a corporate off-site all at the same time! Would love to exchange thoughts and connect!
Such a fantastic piece. I'm currently transitioning into the CoS role at a fast-growing Silicon Valley startup and experiencing EXACTLY THIS. The role is fraught with an array of responsibilities, but certainly not many "sexy" ones in my experience. After 28 years as a top-producing, C-suite Executive Assistant, I can honestly say that this role is the first that actually "fits" me. I've owned my own business(es) for years and returning to W-2 status has felt surprisingly natural and exciting in this role. I get to be as entrepreneurial as I wish and use my entire toolbox (and network) built by almost 3 decades as an EA. My time in the role will be finite as you've outlined. But I'd wager it will be some of the best work I've done in my career when I do step away.
Thanks for a great article, Christian which is very insightful. The role you describe of Chief of Staff is what I define as Executive Assistant. I was an EA for 20 years in the corporate world and there is nothing that you suggest you do/did that I didn't do as an EA. Some firms would call this call Operations Manager or Business Support Manager. I could also argue that a true of Chief of Staff, in the corporate world, would never be printing out materials for their Executive and would absolutely being doing more strategic planning and less tactical and operational work.