What Does a Chief of Staff Do for a Company?

Learn what a Chief Of Staff does for a company from an expert's perspective. Understand how this role helps CEOs manage their time effectively & make important decisions.

What Does a Chief of Staff Do for a Company?

Managing the executive director's agenda, scheduling meetings and planning trips are all part of the job description for a chief of staff. This role is responsible for providing department leaders with recommendations and consultations for improvement, as well as planning and managing all of the CEO's administrative, financial and operational activities. The chief of staff helps the CEO to manage their time effectively and plays an advisory role in making important decisions about the company. Nearly every company surveyed had one or two executive assistants (EAs) that worked full time for the CEO.

About two-thirds also held a chief of staff position or equivalent. Two factors will determine if adding a CO to the CEO's office will improve things: their ability to influence and encourage staff members, and the scope of support they provide. The role of chief of staff originated in politics and the military, and is now increasingly being adopted by executive directors. OfficeNinjas, an organization that provides networks, education and training to administrative and operational staff, organizes an annual conference called OfficeNinjas Con in partnership with experts and academic institutions, such as the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

Earning PACE certification allows you to demonstrate your deep knowledge, experience and commitment, everything employers want in their chief of staff or senior executive assistant. They are the communicators, problem solvers, innovators, process drivers and everyday decision makers, as well as the main architects of the decision-making process. A chief of staff seeks to establish connections, evaluate root causes, highlight quality data and ideas, formulate decisions, and clarify disagreements and disconnections between executive leaders. Smaller companies tended to hire managers of staff for operations and business services, while larger companies were more likely to use the department of finance or professional services, such as consulting, or to promote a senior executive assistant.

A former chief executive who now advises boards of directors 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. During the 25 years spent working at a consulting and software company, a dozen as president and CEO, I had a chief of staff. Your staff can help them organize the schedule of interactions with the board of directors, contact with investors, customer visits, and staff meetings so that they are “active when it matters most.”.