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Improving Your Managers' Skills is Key to Business Growth

By Anthony Taylor - July 14, 2021

Cameron Herold in the Canadian born founder of COO Alliance. He was instrumental in building 1-800-GOT-JUNK? into a $100 million business, and also helped build several other companies including North America's largest collision repair company, the largest residential house painting company in the world, and a currency company he sold for $64 million.

Since leaving 1-800-GOT-JUNK? 14 years ago, he's been coaching companies all over the world, and speaking in 26 countries. He's also authored 5 books (linked at the bottom of this blog post), and is the host of the Second in Command Podcast

On this episode of the Strategy & Leadership Podcast, Cameron joins us to discuss the role of the second in command, his big 'aha' moments, growing the skills of managers, the importance of continuous learning, and more.


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Here's a breakdown of our conversation:

  • The role of the second in command

Cameron explains that when a business grows to the point where it can't handle the people and is missing opportunities - that's when it needs a second in command. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of hiring one too fast.

The second in command needs to be able to oversee and lead all your talented employees, without needing to know how to do everyone's job. Their job is to take ideas out of the CEOs mind, organize them, and help decide which ideas to green, yellow, or red light. This means they'll have to ask a lot of questions and put systems in place to start projects.

At the end of the day the role of the second in command is to help the CEO shine and take the hard work off their plate.

  • Biggest 'aha' moments after helping build 4 companies

The first 'aha' moment involves growth. If your company is growing quickly, it will become easy to outgrow the skills of your managers and leaders. If you don't replace them as you grow or train them, you'll reach a point where you have to replace a handful of people at once.

The second 'aha' moment is about prioritization. Cameron shares that as companies grow, they end up saying 'no' to more and more things. It's about focusing on the critical few vs. the important many. At his companies, it was about people, time, and money - looking at what would bring the highest ROI for each of those 3 inputs.

  • Growing the skills of your managers

"Grow their skills, grow their confidence".

Cameron says that entrepreneurs need to lean out 2-3 years into the future, and if the company is going to be bigger, managers need to be given the skills they need to lead. Most managers don't have the skills necessary, including coaching, interviewing, situational leadership skills, how to run meetings, etc. The challenge is, most entrepreneurs don't have the skills to teach them, creating a situation where the blind are leading the blind. 

  • On continuous learning & the COO Alliance

Cameron looks back on how we were taught to memorize in school. But in business, you can enlist the help of the smart people around you, and in a way you can cheat. He mentions how the numerous paid communities and groups he's been a part of give him a chance to be surrounded by people with different skills - where he's no longer the smartest person in the room. From there, he's one degree away from the answers and the people that can help him solve problems he can't.

The COO Alliance had to be created because there was no network for the second in commands with a minimum of $5 million in revenue. Now, COO Alliance has members in 17 countries.

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