As delightful as it has been to be the author of a newsletter called “WTF is a COO”, the time has come for a change. There are several reasons for this:
I am not currently a COO.
I have been writing about non-COO-specific topics for some time now, so the title is inaccurate.
It’s quite a mouthful to pronounce. One reader commented they always read it as “what a fiasco”.
Why “People Engineering”?
I ran a poll on LinkedIn and “People Engineering” got the most votes. Science!
More seriously: I have been thinking about who I am, what I care about, and the topics I tend to write about. As a software engineer by trade and training, I have found that taking an engineering approach to people challenges has been at the core of how I approached my job as an organisational leader. I have written before about how I felt my background as an engineer helped me in the COO role. I have also described the job of COO in terms of system design:
At its core, I see the job as one of system design and maintenance. But the COO is designing a system out of people, and that means it requires the exercising of a high degree of emotional intelligence, effective communication, and the ability to care genuinely and simultaneously for both the business and the people who make it run.
When I look back on the topics I have written about, that is the common thread running through them: how to design, implement, maintain, lead, and participate in an organisation. How to combine the humanity and dignity of the individual with the need to create a system that can achieve things that are beyond the reach of any one person within it.
There is much to be said on this topic.
Not much changes. I will continue to write about topics that I care about, and won’t allow myself to be fully constrained by the title and topic of the newsletter. As I enter a new phase in my career, I also hope to be able to maintain a more regular cadence of publication.
Thanks to all of you for reading and supporting this newsletter. I hope you stick around for the next phase!