• Sravan Sridhar

Learning in the pandemic

What does it take to be a COO of a venture? In the time and age where startups are booming fancy titles are being thrown around, have you ever wondered what people in 'Chief" positions do? Do they sit around signing documents and giving motivational speeches to their employees? Do they bounce in and out of boardroom meetings in fancy suits? The fact is, the answer to that question evolves based on which stage their venture is at the given point of time.

Being a COO of a startup I assure you, I have two suits (neither of which are fancy), and I suck at motivational speeches. However, because my venture is still in the initial stages, it is my responsibility to ensure I am setting up robust processes in place, so we minimise scale-up risks, which means communication protocol, chain of command and other organisational structures, ensuring the proper paperwork, ensuring that operations, finance, sales, marketing and strategy are always on the same page as to there is as less miscommunication as possible.

It is the COO's responsibility to know when to push an idea forward and when to reel it in, this is especially crucial in the initial stages of a venture where there would always be a conflict between innovation and finance, COO has to moderate this. As the enterprise grows, COO has to adapt and take up more of a leadership role, delegate work where possible, plan and re-plan strategies, have failsafe's and backup options for all major decisions being implemented, the keyword here is implemented, because the leadership team may come to a secure consensus. Still, implementation drives the company, and the COO is the driver, they are always on the lookout for oncoming threat, figuring out how to neutralise it.

Now I haven't had the opportunity to experience being a COO of a developed organisation yet, maybe someday I will have that chance, but being a COO of a startup venture means you have to be ready to get your hands dirty, you need to keep yourself informed always. You need to be the mediator of conflict, but also a pioneer who encourages innovation, it is a tricky role to be in because all decisions will have two sides. You have to figure out the perfect balance. It can be as challenging or exciting as you want it to be. If you think you can step up and be a COO, then check out Moqqua!

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