Businesses are increasingly looking to hire a Chief of Staff (CoS) to ensure that their day-to-day operations run smoothly. Surprisingly, this role originated in politics, not business.
Whilst governments usually try to mimic business in an attempt to improve efficiency, the CoS role is a rare example of business mimicking government. President Truman appointed the first-ever White House CoS in 1946 and since then the role has grown to become one of the most coveted and important in Washington.
Close proximity and access to the President, coupled with an intimate knowledge of the goings on of a large and complicated bureaucracy resulted in the CoS’s office being well positioned to keep the President informed of key developments. In effect it acts to ensure that only the most vital information reaches the highest levels.
In business, Chiefs of Staff benefit from access to C-Suite executives and oversee the business’ day-to-day operations. Consequently, they are aware of almost everything that is going on and, more importantly, how the business should function on a daily basis. This places their office in a strong position to bring irregularities and opportunities to the C-Suite’s attention early on.
As businesses grow and/or acquire more data, they will face the same problem as post-WWII American Presidents: how to stay on top of large volumes of information. CoS type roles can be an essential component of the solution to this problem. As a result, a business’ CoS can be critical to success and a good CoS will be indispensable.