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Having a 'No' Person Could Be Your Greatest Asset in Business CEOs benefit from having someone who can balance their weaknesses and provide accountability in leading the business.

By Jason Hennessey Edited by Jessica Thomas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You've heard of Batman and Robin. Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee. Bert and Ernie. These are just a few of the iconic duos through recent history who are known for their loyal friendship and charismatic personalities.

What we know about successful duos is that opposites often attract, and that the perfect complement might not be someone who exactly matches your energy, but holds a mirror to your ideas and decisions.

It's the same way with CEOs and COOs.

As a CEO, you might be the dreamer, big thinker and motivator in your business. But you need that perfect complement to keep you grounded, add fire to your ideas and check you when it matters most.

In other words, who is your "no" person?

Related: 5 Habits Every CEO Should Avoid to Be a Truly Remarkable Leader

Your COO is the "checks and balances" to your grand ideas

My company's COO is truly a changemaker. More than managing operations, he is the "checks and balances" to most of my business decisions and adds energy to my ideas.

As an entrepreneur, I encounter all types of tempting opportunities — partnerships, products, acquisitions — and it can be easy to get distracted by shiny object syndrome. My COO is the (subtle) "no" person who tells me, "This is a great idea, but not right now" and keeps me focused on what's best for the business.

As a CEO, you need that direct yet empathetic voice to remind you of where your priorities lie and what's realistic for your company. When there's no shortage of opportunities, your COO helps you determine what's worth it for right now versus what's meant for the future.

Related: 3 Hats Every COO Needs to Wear

Your COO is your "chief organizing officer"

If a CEO is the "chief energizing officer" — the visionary — then the COO is the "chief organizing officer" who rallies the team to make this vision a reality.

Entrepreneurs are full of fire and big ideas, but we need someone to support us in the organizational structure, processes and operations to bring these ideas to life. This might require building new systems, hiring the right talent, acquiring new tools and otherwise creating a game plan to bring these visions to fruition.

My schedule gets quickly overbooked with networking events, speaking opportunities, conferences and the like. My COO keeps the organizational engine running by overseeing operations, delegating activities to the team, optimizing systems and building processes along the way.

Related: To Punch Above Your Weight, Hire a COO

Your COO is a source of inspiration and accountability

My COO was the primary source of accountability when it came to me writing my book, Law Firm SEO. After attending the COO Alliance conference, he came back inspired and encouraged me to research, write and launch my book.

Your COO is both a source of inspiration and accountability. They are often the driver behind the initiatives that take your brand to the next level, and the friendly nudge of accountability to keep you moving forward.

But this partnership only works if you have a great working relationship with your COO. This should be a relationship built on trust and respect. You should be equally invested in their growth and success, providing training opportunities, coaching, conferences, tools and more.

Who is your "no" person?

Whether you have a COO or are still looking for that "no" person, I strongly recommend incorporating the Working Genius Personality Model into your partnership. This assessment rates you across the six working personality types and can help highlight traits that complement your working styles.

My working genius is "invention and galvanizing;" my COO's is "discernment and enablement." My working frustration is "wonder and tenacity;" my COO's is "invention and tenacity."

What the Working Genius Personality Model tells us is that my COO is the enablement (action-taking) to my wonder (big ideas). Again, the perfect CEO/COO dynamic balances between the visionary and the organizer.

It takes courage to realistically evaluate your weaknesses, and it takes humility to allow someone to have that level of accountability in your life. Realizing the benefits of creating a dynamic duo relationship will enhance your leadership and possibly the profitability of your business. So, who will be your "no" person?

Related: Are You a Real CEO? Here's a Self-Assessment Formula

Jason Hennessey

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Entrepreneur & CEO

Jason Hennessey is an entrepreneur, internationally-recognized SEO expert, author, speaker, podcast host and business coach. Since 2001, Jason has been reverse-engineering the Google algorithm as a self-taught student and practitioner of SEO and search marketing.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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