On What a Chief of Staff Brings to a Startup


John Quayle Headshot
John Quayle

Chief of Staff at Four Growers

Episode notes

What does the role of chief of staff mean in a small private company? What value does it bring to an organization, team, or the CEO?

In this episode, Jenny speaks with John Quayle, an Operations Professional for small businesses, startups, and brands that are economies of one. Three months ago, he became the Chief of Staff at Four Growers, a startup that’s revolutionizing farming with robots that can pick ripe fruit in green houses. 

Listen in to learn the role of chief of staff in small businesses and its value in finalizing and executing the CEO’s vision and strategy. You will also learn the art of planning goals and the value of holding high-level and engaging team meetings. 

“It’s easier to go from a point of editing versus from a point of creating from scratch.” — John [30:45]

Show notes

  • [1:59] Get to know John – his background and how he focuses on growing small teams/businesses. 
  • [3:14] Four Growers – providing reduced production cost for greenhouse growers through the creation and finalization of robotics technology. 
  • [6:07] The role of chief of staff in the private sector – handling CEO assigned tasks and the glue piece to the rest of the company. 
  • [7:55] The value of a chief of staff in a small company in simplifying and translating up without focusing on the details. 
  • [10:56] The art of planning goals – how to put in false limitations to get things done with the available resources. 
  • [16:28] How to crunch down feedback and communication as a team to depend on each other and get things done. 
  • [19:08] How to hold high-level and engaging meetings that don’t focus on tedious details. 
  • [22:54] John explains how he and his team set and execute OKRs.
  • [27:58] How the first three months of his role as chief of staff were preset and why it made work easier. 
  • [36:48] How to approach your first 3 months as a leader to get the best out of you and your team.
  • [38:54] John answers more quick-fire questions.

Relevant links

About our guest:

John Quayle Headshot
John Quayle

Chief of Staff

John Quayle, Chief of Staff at Four Growers is currently working to develop the company into a billion-dollar company with the mission to drive down the cost of indoor agriculture.

Additional resources