You’ve just been hired (or promoted) to be your CEO’s second-in-command. Do you know what it takes to survive and thrive in this uniquely challenging position?
The two essential tasks of a second-in-command
Most number twos make the mistake of thinking that all they have to do is run the company well. In reality, your success as a second-in-command – regardless of whether your title is president, COO or head of operations – depends on your ability to accomplish two essential tasks: managing the business and managing your relationship with your boss.
Unlike the CEO, you have to manage both up and down, which makes it an extremely challenging position. Obviously, you have to handle the day-to-day operations of the company; that’s inherent in your position. But you also have to assume responsibility for managing your relationship with the CEO, because you have more at stake. They can fire you but you cannot fire them.
Don’t assume the CEO will automatically manage the relationship, because if they don’t – and very few of them do – it could cost you your job, regardless of how well you run the company.