The Chief Staff Officer, be he called CEO or Executive Director or General Manager, is responsible for leading the work of the organization. He’s responsible for being clear on the goals and implementing the directions he gets from the board.
We often suggest that the job description of that Chief Staff Officer can simply be to fulfill the strategic plan while following board policies. The senior staff person must communicate to the people that report directly to him and then in turn ensure that communication happens down the line, so that everyone in the organization realizes what the goals are and how they are expected to achieve them.
The Chief Staff Officer is also responsible for monitoring, for following up with all the departments in the organization and helping them pull back on track if the goals don’t look like they’re going to get achieved. And the key responsibility of the Chief Staff Officer is to help everything go well.
The Chief Staff Officer is a role model. He is the head of the operational side of the organization; lots of people are watching them. When there’s a conscientious, ethical Chief Staff Officer, there is frequently a trickle-down effect resulting in ethical operations. The CEO has a very important role ensuring that the direction he receives from the board is carried out for a successful organization. When a Chief Staff Officer fulfills his role well, the board sees great results from its governance excellence.
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