COO for Change

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While in Mexico I started to socialize a concept that one of the attendees titled a COO for Change, which I believe is a great title. I started calling it “The #2” but a few people thought that was a pretty shitty idea đŸ™‚ Then the title of 2nd in Command, but the whole idea of command and control didn’t sit very well, but COO for Change is a perfect title.

So, what is a COO for Change? In all the years I have worked in business and from everything I have seen, business success comes from having great people. Great teams solve the biggest problems not individuals. So, as we look to build the social enterprise ecosystem there are so many fellowships for founders. There are Ashoka Fellows, Skoll Fellows, TED Fellows, Echoing Green Fellows and fellowships from hundreds of other foundations, but they all seem to focus on the founder. These are individuals that have the vision and the passion to carry the message, but do they have the business acumen to build a business of value? Do they know how and where to fi d the best talent to grow their organizations? In my experience it is usually no.

If that is the case what do we do to improve the success of these enterprises? It is my contention that introducing a great COO might be a great piece toward that solution. I was asked by someone at the conference “can’t these individuals find COO’s themselves?” Well, recruiting talent is a key to success but it is hard, really hard. To me it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack. How do you find the right resource that is ready at the right time to interview appropriately that they want the job and can work for the salary available, and then there is the whole issue of where people live. You might live in SF but the ideal opportunity is in Miami. How do you connect the dots and make that happen.

Recruiting the right talent is the single biggest key to success and most of the best business minds are focused on making money today, not trying to change the world. If we could move just a small percentage of people that have the desire for a career switch from traditional business to the social enterprise sector we could move the needle faster. I am sure that this is not the silver bullet because there is no silver bullet to this challenge, but it one more piece to making this planet a better place for everyone.

The COO for Change would be a fellowship for around $100,000 for someone to move into the COO role at an emerging social enterprise that is on the brink of stardom. This person could be 10 years out of college working at a big or small business or an older person in the encore of their career. Where they come from is not the issue, the issue is that they need to know how to operationalize and systematize a business. There are lots of great organizations and great causes, but execution is often much more important than the idea. Without great business minds put to work solving these huge problems we will be looking at these same issues in 50 years, and to me that is just unacceptable. Let me know what you think of this idea, your thoughts are appreciated.

‘Til next time …….


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