Success with a Chief Administrative Officer

A growing business has too many essential tasks for one person. The CEO often needs help planning and completing these tasks. Businesses must hire and manage employees, fire employees who inhibit business growth, determine areas of growth for the business, and make plans to carry out improvements in those areas.

The Chief Administrative Officer helps make sure each department is on-task and meeting their quotas to achieve growth. If the workload has become too much for the CEO, it may be time to hire a CAO.

Start Planning Your Hiring Strategy Early

Businesses must fill the Chief Administrative Officer position early to avoid major setbacks in leadership and organization.

Before searching for a Chief Administrative Officer, clearly define what their exact role in the company will be. The duties of a Chief Administrative Officer can vary greatly from business to business depending on a company’s needs and the candidate’s strengths.

Outlining the specific job duties your Chief Administrative Officer will undertake before hiring someone is crucial for attracting qualified candidates. This person needs to be capable of doing the job, as well as enthusiastic about accomplishing your company’s goals. Having a right-hand man on board that shares your vision of the company’s future will lead to a great working relationship.

Culture fit is another important factor when hiring a Chief Administrative Officer. You can assess culture and goal fit during the hiring process by holding multiple rounds of interviews to really get to know each candidate. During these interviews pay attention to the candidates’ social skills, energy, and other intangible qualities not found on a resume.

The Qualities of a Chief Administrative Officer

“Because a chief executive relies so heavily on the second in command to accomplish mission-critical goals, it’s essential that the COO wholeheartedly believe in the CEO’s strategic leadership.”

— May 2006 Issue of Harvard Business Review

Generally, a CAO is responsible for the overall coordination of the company. These duties involve contracts, budgeting, and finances. They are also in charge of enacting policies and procedures. They perform several human resource tasks, which may include hiring, firing, performance evaluations, and the delegation of tasks.

This person must be flexible enough to take on many diverse duties and responsibilities, as a CAO has many different roles to fill. The CAO will help guide the company in the right direction to fulfill its mission as a business. The Chief Administrative Officer may be responsible for executing growth strategies or leading a major change for the company.

A qualified Chief Administrative Office should hold an MBA in Business Administration. However, a bachelor’s degree may be sufficient in some cases. Depending on your company’s industry, your CAO may have a background in law, communication, economics, finance, information systems, or marketing. 

Your ideal CAO should also possess substantial industry experience managing employees and operations. This person must be someone who understands how to earn the respect of other employees and is capable of helping everyone in the company meet quotas and work together successfully.

Additionally, the CAO should be familiar with efficient workflow in your industry. What works well in one industry or organization may not be as effective in another organization. Therefore, the CAO must adapt to your company’s culture to employ the best strategies to help your company grow.

Y Scouts is a purpose-based, performance-proven leadership search and development firm focused on transforming how people and organizations connect to work that matters. When you’re ready to hire a new leader, Contact Y Scouts. If you are looking for your next leadership role within a purpose-driven, performance-focused organization, please join the Y Scouts Leadership Community.

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