Here are some key quotes from my latest podcast with Joe Signoreli, Founder and CEO of Our Peer Group, speaking about the role of the Chief Operating Officer:

“It’s not just the way that I came in through the public accounting experience. Sometimes it’s from the sell side, sometimes it’s from the legal side. There’s a lot of different qualities that can make someone a good COO.”

“I think dealing with regulatory concerns, investors, business growth and the general day to day upkeep of the people inside and the firm are things all COO deal with.”

“For me, I think the hardest part of the role was really understanding how the Founders worked, what their needs were, what their likes and dislikes were and how to really understand how to maximize what I did in a way that resonated with them that they could understand and that would make us all successful. I think that took time.”

“A lot of these Founders are starting up what’s essentially a small business and it’s based on their reputation and their skill. And you can’t hand something over like that lightly. I wouldn’t either.”

“I used to tell the story all the time, “what do you do as a COO?” I’d be asked. And so you know, there were days where I was fixing the leaking sink in the kitchen. And then as soon as I finished that, I’d get my tie on and go meet with our largest investor for three hours.”

“And sometimes I think actually, as a CEO, you can get to a level where you sort of miss that side of things. And you’re doing a lot of people management and, yes, investor work and meeting with the fund managers. But sometimes you can really miss what got you there, which is really the nuts and bolts of the operations of the business.”

“I think the best thing a vendor ever did with me was to really care enough to understand what exactly we did, what we cared about, and what we didn’t care about.”

“I always viewed outsourcing as: outsource everything that you can that’s not value-added that can be outsourced and keep internally the review process and the value-added process. That’s what the employee should be doing.”

“I was always very careful of remembering that all of these systems and outsource people don’t ultimately have to answer to the Founders at some point. You do. And you really have to make sure that you’re constantly on top of that, constantly checking it, constantly managing it, and that still takes a lot of work because you can’t, you know, let your fund be reliant on people that you don’t really know and don’t employ.”
“[I started OPG] because no matter how qualified you are, when you start, you need people, you need growth, you need learning.”

“I’d really like to see [OPG] grow with some real value-added quality firms and have them added in. I think it’s important to cycle in new firms periodically as well. You get new flavor, new questions, new ideas.”