CEOs: Is Your COO Your “Ride or Die”?

CEOs: Who on your team is your “ride or die”? Is it your COO?

There’s a lot to consider here. If you don’t feel like you have one, that could be a problem. Not necessarily in ALL cases, but I want to propose something…

A one-sided relationship never works—at least not in a healthy manner. Whether it’s personal or business, it’s important for each party to contribute in a way that adds to the relationship not distracts from it.

This is why a COO can’t perform to their full potential without support from the CEO.

Benefits of a Mutually-Supportive CEO/COO Relationship

A CEO’s support for their COO creates a sense of trust and collaboration, which leads to a stronger executive team. When a CEO trusts their COO, it sends a message to the rest of the organization that the COO is a valuable member of the team and their decisions are in alignment with the CEO’s vision for the company. This creates a more cohesive team, where everyone is working towards the same goals.

With this in place, COOs are more likely to make bold decisions that positively impact the company. They are not as likely to second-guess themselves or seek approval for every decision, which can slow down the decision-making process. Instead, they can take calculated risks knowing that the CEO is behind them.

In addition, a CEO’s support for their COO can also have a positive impact on the company culture. When the CEO and COO work well together, it sets an example for the rest of the organization to follow. This can lead to a positive work environment, where employees feel empowered to make decisions and take risks.

Alternatively, a CEO who does not support their COO creates a tense and unproductive work environment. Without the CEO’s backing, the COO may struggle to make necessary changes and improvements to the business. Lack of support can lead to frustration—and, ultimately, a lack of motivation and engagement from the COO.

Are You and Your COO Aligned?

It’s no secret that the COO plays a crucial role in the success of any organization, and their relationship with the CEO can make or break the company’s performance. While the COO may not be the CEO’s ride-or-die partner, it is crucial for the two to have a mutually supportive relationship.

Given all this, would you say you and your COO are on the right track? Or, are there some dents in the CEO/COO armor? If the latter is the case, do you see a way to fix it?

It could be that your current COO simply isn’t the right fit. There’s nothing wrong with assessing performance, how well (and how much) you collaborate, and if you find yourself butting heads more often than not. 

I’m happy to weigh in with insights. Believe me, I’ve seen plenty of CEO/COO relationships work well over the years but also a number of ones that haven’t

Connect with me on my website or email me at

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