Are COO skills portable?

Continuing our recent series on the topic of COO…

Are COO skills portable? Meaning, can you be a COO for a business lines insurance business and step into a COO role in commercial building?

"It depends."

The skill set required to succeed as COO is certainly unique. Roles and responsibilities of the COO tend to shift and evolve. As such, requires an individual with mettle and ability to adapt QUICKLY to the environment and the culture. 

There are many known cases of sales and marketing types elevating to the role of COO. Also, HR and Finance types. 

Typically (no absolutes), operations tend to turn over sales/marketing, production and R&D to the COO. Sometimes, the need is in other areas. As such, there is real disparity in operational spans of control, autonomy and reporting structure. 

Just as important as the COO role is in relation to the work is the COOs relationship with the CEO. This all boils down to one salient point. The COO is there to assist the CEO in making their vision become a reality. 

The role of COO is "situational"—structurally, strategically, socially and politically unique.