Being second in command is tricky terrain to navigate; just ask Adventure Links COO Adam Trautenberg. Co-host, Miranda Barrett joins Govindh Jayaraman to get the inside scoop on how this COO takes charge of a demanding job that’s constantly in flux.
“The role is defined by the relationship with the CEO,” explains Adam. That relationship isn’t something that simply grew overnight. For him, “it was an organic experience…it built over time.” Trust is the most essential result of that developmental period. The two key components of their symbiosis involve him understanding his CEO’s vision, and, “her having the trust in me that I’ll get there.”
With trust, comes candor: “Mistakes are open and discussed.” For Adam and his CEO, it’s about finding solutions, not pointing fingers. “She’s not going to scream and yell, or fire me, or threaten to fire me…It’s a really honest and open communication line.” However, that doesn’t protect him from political pitfalls.
COOs often find themselves, for better or for worse, as the liaison between the CEO and the rest of the company. “If you cover too much for the CEO…you can lose a little bit of the trust of the team.” It’s a fine line that only a few have the balance to walk.
So, what does it take to make a great COO? Adam quickly asserts, “Adaptability.” Apparently, there simply isn’t a normal day for him, which explains why, “there’s no job description for COO.”