Unifier Spotlight: Maggie Olson at Nova

In 2024, we are seeing a massive push to unify teams around core asset journeys, aka build some important bridges! In this endeavor, your Unifier is your “bridge builder” – vital to not only fix bridges, but construct bigger and better bridges built to grow with your team.

In Part 3 of our “Unifier Spotlight” series (you can find Part 2 here), Maggie Olson joined me to discuss her role as a Unifier, and bridge builder, at Nova. Maggie offers a unique perspective as a coach and mentor to many successful Chiefs of Staff – take a look at her great insight below!

What is your favorite meal?

“I'm gonna have to go with a TON of Indian food. I often get together with 8 friends, a supper club, and we love to have Indian feasts. I used to live in Seattle where there was a lot of Indian food, but in Lincoln we have to make it!”

What’s something about you that most people don’t know?

“I started a new business and had a new baby in one year. It’s a lot to balance both and to show up in the right ways. What’s crazier is that we sold two houses, moved to Lincoln, had a baby, and launched my company all in the past 12 months… my word of the year is ‘simplify.’”

What does your day-to-day look like?

“I work 11-5 most days. I load my Tuesdays and Thursdays with meetings and keep Monday, Wednesday, and Friday open for flow time and flexibility. My workload includes managing the Nova Chief of Staff Certification course, navigating and posting on LinkedIn, working with my program operations manager, planning & hosting Nova events, building partnerships in the Chief of Staff space, coaching, and speaking regularly about the Chief of Staff role and Nova’s course.”

In the past 12 months, what part(s) of the business have you focused on connecting/integrating more?

“In the past 12 months, I’ve been focused on connecting the flow of information. When it comes to Consulting, approvals, the sequence of approvals, and visibility are all part of the process. The current and future Chiefs of Staff I coach usually need to work with several people to complete a deliverable, for example, a board meeting deck. It’s important to have a great process to work through deliverables efficiently.”

What would "the pinnacle" unification look like in your business?

“I recently heard an executive say that their goal is to send zero emails to anyone on their team, and instead use a task management system.  I think the perfect scenario would be where I, or another executive, put in tasks to be completed, the requested person completes the task, but more importantly, ownership has been transferred to who is doing the task. It’s vital to provide visibility so that everyone knows their role. In any business, this is vital - it goes right in line with what we’ve been focusing on integrating in the last 12 months.”

How do you measure the success of your top revenue-generating asset throughout its journey with your business?

“I measure most things in two ways: hard and soft feedback. For us, that means performance data as well as reviews.  With my whole career being focused on customer and employee experience, the Nova student experience is critical to me. Anecdotal feedback like reviews, testimonials, and referrals are strong data points. The other way we measure success is through performance metrics like revenue or total enrollment. When I worked at Nordstrom, we had a great model. We had an early lock goal for performance metrics, way ahead of time, and then we “re-locked” through the year. We were able to measure performance not only to current goals but our early-lock goals too. These two measurements of hard and soft feedback are vital for any business.”

In 2024, where would you like to see increased unification/execution?

“In 2024, I’d like to see increased execution around eliminating redundant or repeatable tasks. I am curious how AI will impact the work I, and my clients, do. The tools that can be learned and used quickly will impact how we execute. For Nova, I also want our students to have a hub of connection to each other, which is currently through a LinkedIn group. Connecting everyone in an ecosystem with countless resources will help all our execution.”

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