The Essential Role of a Chief of Staff in Managing Change

Learn how having an effective chief of staff can bring value to an organization by managing organizational change strategies such as planning, transparency & honesty, communication & employee participation.

The Essential Role of a Chief of Staff in Managing Change

As a new CEO, it is essential to create and implement a strategy, build a superior team, and drive cultural change. However, if change is not managed properly, it can lead to a loss of productivity and poor employee performance. The role of the chief of staff is often misunderstood and difficult to define. Before taking on this role, many have little appreciation for it beyond seeing fictional characters like Leo McGarry and Josh Lyman in The West Wing [1].

As I adapted to this new role, I began to think critically about what a corporate chief of staff does on a daily basis and how they bring unique value to their director or executive (CXO) and the organization they support. Successful chiefs of staff don't just give advice. They must make decisions to ease some of their manager's workload and allow them to focus on making the most important decisions that come their way. A chief of staff acts as an “air traffic controller” for an executive, helping to manage their time and energy.

If there's one thing that describes the value that a chief of staff brings to an organization, it's “effectiveness”. When new CEOs with a mandate for change take over a company, they often spend time reshaping its strategy and determining the type of culture needed to succeed. A longer and more strategic deployment is almost always the best option, rather than a precipitous change of direction. This will give employees the opportunity to adapt to the change, as well as answer questions and address any issues well in advance.

People tend to adopt new habits slowly, so this will give their staff the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the new way of doing things and gradually eliminate old practices in a more natural way. If you are faced with changes in your company and want to learn more about the change management process, here are some of the key organizational change management strategies you can employ. Nobody is born with experience managing organizational change; it's a skill that usually requires many years of practical experience to develop. For example, if you're interested in developing your change management skills, consider taking a course like Management Essentials which delves into the topic as part of its curriculum.

Some of the best change management strategies include planning, transparency and honesty, communication, and employee participation. As chief of staff, you must be able to effectively manage these strategies in order to bring value to your organization. You must also be able to provide regular updates on the status of projects that have been initiated by your CXO. Ben Balter is the head of security staff at GitHub, the world's largest software development platform.

He believes that having a chief of staff is essential for any executive or director who wants to be successful. A former chief executive who now advises boards of directors also argues that many chief executives need a chief of staff (CO), someone who goes beyond the role of executive assistant to help keep the office running smoothly. Greg is an example of an effective chief of staff. He doesn't have direct reports but has significant responsibilities and an ever-changing portfolio of projects that require sophisticated skills.

He is highly regarded by all of the CEO's direct reports and was underused in his position as executive assistant. Greg is an example of how having an effective chief of staff can bring value to an organization. No matter what role you take on in your organization, it is important to remember that managing change effectively is key for success. With practice and experience, you can develop your change management skills and become an effective leader who brings value to your organization.