by Jenifer Shockley
ATLANTA – Nathan Bennett, associate dean for program innovation at Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business, and Stephen A. Miles, founder and CEO of The Miles Group, have updated their influential book, Riding Shotgun: The Role of the COO, which offers a comprehensive look at the chief operating officer position.
The updated edition, released this month by Stanford Business Books, features new interviews with current and former COOs and executives, and an examination of the contemporary forces shaping business, providing a thorough resource for leaders to understand and maximize the COO role.
“When Riding Shotgun was first released in 2006, the iPhone had not debuted. Today, companies face the aftermath of the global recession, increasingly longer and more globalized supply chains, the pervasiveness of mobile, social media’s ubiquity, cyber terrorism, big data, changing expectations of emerging markets, and much more,” explained Bennett. “We want to provide leaders with the support they need for sustained success.”
Through in-depth interviews with executives from The Coca-Cola Company, Microsoft, PepsiCo, Apple, Adobe, Mattel and Delta Air Lines, among others, Bennett and Miles note seven archetypal roles for COOs. These roles include providing daily leadership in an operationally intensive business (e.g. airlines or data warehousing), mentoring a young CEO (often a founder), retaining and rewarding internal talent, and more. Even within industries, no two companies view or approach the COO role exactly the same. Despite these differences, global lessons emerged.
“At the time of publication, the COO role and its relevance were often misunderstood,” said Miles. “Today, the value no longer remains a mystery, as evidenced by high-profile COO to CEO transitions, such as Apple’s Tim Cook and Coca-Cola’s James Quincey. It’s no longer accurate to state that CEOs must worry about the future while COOs must worry about the present. Balancing short-term goals with long-term strategy now falls on COOs and entire executive teams. The most successful companies maintain unflinching trust and flawless handoffs between the CEO and COO.”
The Robinson College of Business is a community of students, educators, and professionals who specialize in discovering insights that drive smarter business decisions. Home to more Georgia executives than any other school, our programs are designed to push beyond the classroom and offer experiences that bridge the gap between business education and the business world.