Based on 20+ years working in corporate america, I have created this fun cartoon with 5 scary office scenes. I am sure you will agree these are hair raising and may make you want to scream and run away from your cubicle. First we have the dreaded, single point of failure! Second, the time sucking meeting with no agenda. Third, the Red Bull drinking employee who works 24/7. Fourth, the over promiser. Last, we have the Friday afternoon meeting from home, complete with pizza and beer. You may want to use this cartoon to add some operations humor to your next team meeting Please click on the imageRead More →

“I am a complexity assassin” Love it! I was recently on LinkedIn and came across a complete stranger who had this statement as his headline and my eyes were immediately drawn to his profile. If you read my profile, you’ll see a statement about how “I love the beauty of simplification”. I’ll take a bullet point over a paragraph any day! Simplifying the complex is something I strongly believe we need to embrace. There is a tendency in the workplace to do the opposite…delve into the deep details, the technical specs, the minute by minute timelines. There is definitely a place for details especially forRead More →

Sales wants to add as many customizations as possible, but operations wants sales to sell “what is on the truck” already. I have seen this natural conflict or push/pull relationship at every company I have worked for, from packaging supplies, to online advertising to software. Having worked in both sales and ops, I have been both the requester and the rejector. What causes this conflict? Sales people want to please customers and they often believe that providing custom options and/or all the bells and whistles that the customers ask for, is what’s best for everyone. Their perspective is often about the short term gratification andRead More →

When business processes don’t work the way that we expect them to, we often blame the employees who are responsible for the process. We assume that they aren’t working hard enough or need more training. However, we are often wrong – and there are six others reasons that processes fail, which inspired today’s cartoon. Enjoy!    (Click on the image to view a full screen version.) Read More →

To close out 2011, I surveyed top operations experts across the globe and asked them to share their most impactful learning or most important piece of advice for The Operations Blog’s audience. Read on for interesting commentary on service operations, sales operations, leadership and operational excellence. Please add your own advice in the comments section. 1) Developing Leadership Skills Must Be Intentional “This past year I’ve learned the value of continuous learning for the development of leadership skills. Far too may business executives believe leadership skills stem from some sort of wondrous epiphany or other such flash of insight. Sure, great ideas can come to anyRead More →

I have learned quite a bit from playing doggie mom to my two, rat terriers, Lexie and Tate. In addition to making me laugh every day and providing unconditional love, they have taught me a lot about running effective business operations. Who knew! Here are my three favorite lessons… 1) What does a 21 year-old clerk know? Ends up, a lot. My eight year old terrier, Lexie, began to suffer from skin allergies when she was about one year old. I spent literally thousands of dollars for doggie dermatologist appointments, shampoos, pills and shots over a period of three years. Eventually, her skin was better,Read More →

Last night I had dinner with four girlfriends and the subject of bosses came up. When the discussion ended, it was very clear that we have an epidemic of UB disease in the Boston area. And, the UBs, A.K.A, unavailable bosses are working at some of the largest, most prestigious companies, have mastered the art of managing up, but have lost sight of why they became leaders in the first place- to lead others! One friend works at one of the billion dollar, global, office supply giants and shared that when she was first hired, she worked for an awesome boss. This boss was supportive,Read More →

Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.  I think he may have been in technical support! Technical support and customer support leaders must begin to think of their top priority as incident prevention not incident management. Incident management focuses on reacting to customer demand (incidents, tickets, questions) and solving problems. It’s about reducing case aging, reducing backlog, achieving service levels and achieving case closure SLAs. And… as I mentioned in a previous post, there is a BIG problem with problem solving as it happens too late in the process. In most cases, once there is an incident, weRead More →

Yesterday, two co-workers and I met with a consultant who specializes in process excellence coaching for senior leaders. The purpose of his visit was to gather baseline information, in preparation for a formal coaching session in November. He came equipped with a list of questions to better understand our business, and there was one that really stood out. He asked, “What percentage of work time are your employees able to leverage their full potential and use all of their skills and talents?” The three of us thought for a moment, and I replied 40%, one coworker said 60% and the third settled in on 50%.Read More →

I like process. I like order. I like predictability. However, I have learned that managing change is messy. Dave Wieneke reminded me of this again yesterday while I attended his presentation called “The 7 deadly sins of business innovation”. Among other great insights, Dave reminded the audience that “your business is not a project, so don’t manage it that way”. (Learn more about Dave on his website www.usefularts.us ) In most corporate America environments, we try to manage most things like a project. Initiatives have kick-offs, due dates, budgets and “SLT” sign off. We have detailed Excel docs with deliverables and owners. Before we approveRead More →