Becoming dispensable is unachievable

How does one become dispensable? Is it unachievable?

I say it is. To an extent.

"But Matias, you just proclaimed how the COO's job is to become dispensable" — I hear you. It is because becoming dispensable, by itself, does not mean anything.

I'll use the OKR framework to illustrate.

Is becoming dispensable an inspiring, concrete, clearly defined goal? Yes.

Does it help measure and determine when the goal is complete? No.

That makes being dispensable an objective.

Which is not enough. And sadly, that is where planning usually ends. You must define key results to determine how and when you have achieved the objective.

For example:

  • O — I've become dispensable
  • KR1 — I've coached my successor {for whatever time is required} to succeed in my responsibilities
  • KR2 — I've automated {those three processes} (because clearly, no one should spend their time on them)
  • KR3 — I've documented, delegated and teached {those two processes} (because I'm the only one who knows them, and my company must retain that knowledge)

These are just examples; the key results are likely entirely different for your situation.

So here's my thought:

By itself, becoming dispensable is an unachievable utopia.

You make it achievable by determining the results that make you dispensable.

It's the final job of any COO.

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