If you focus on constantly improving, you can help. I have now worked as a director of operations for three different organizations and I have discovered that there are certain inherent characteristics that every chief operating officer (COO) has and certain activities and processes that will maximize their impact. The effectiveness of an operations manager is 100 percent correlated with their ability to lead. Success as an operations manager also requires a natural inclination to solve complex problems, implement solutions, and drive change no matter how big the obstacles may seem. Flexibility when working with diverse teams doesn't hurt.
Good communication and collaboration are essential (see the related links section for some resources on communication and collaboration). Every organization has areas for improvement. Meeting with people at all levels and asking the right questions will help you identify these problems. By talking to people at various levels of the organization, you will gain information about decision-making processes. It can be useful to add and categorize this information to more clearly understand issues that affect the entire organization and not at the unit level.
Surveys can help you get the right information and allow you to measure and articulate key challenges in a non-controversial way. Using data to illustrate problems or improvements helps eliminate negative emotions. It's important to prioritize your findings. Identify which tasks require your participation and delegate the rest. Be transparent and open, ask for feedback and have an open door policy.
Once you understand the issues and have clearly communicated them to other senior leaders, you can build the centerpiece of your 12-month operational plan. The operations director must coordinate all departments, such as sales, legal, marketing, IT, human resources and business development. The high-level executive is also responsible for some team leaders, such as the marketing director, the chief financial officer, human resources and customer success if there is no CCO. The operations manager needs to optimize business workflows to meet established standards and results. The operations manager must also manage KPIs and review the efforts of other teams. This requires creating an operational strategy that takes into account the individual performance of the team.
Operations managers face the challenges of teams that duplicate work, work against each other unintentionally, or work with the wrong priorities. Steffen Kroner is CEO of Alvarez & Marsal Private Equity Performance Improvement and has more than 18 years of experience in transformation, operational performance improvement, interim management of senior managers (CEO, CTO, COO, CFO) and operational due diligence. By focusing operational culture on open communication, trust and the free flow of information, you can successfully modernize your operations. As the CEO's right-hand man, the chief operating officer is the fundamental connector for the organization. While operations may be in charge, information management is critical to the operations manager's process.
Alexander Tuff '03 is the chief operating officer and chief strategy officer of Winged Keel Group in New York City. Any transformation focuses on improving operations and realigning the organization around the target operating model. When I spoke at a recent conference about the role of the director of operations, I posted this image of the attraction in Old Fashioned Car at the amusement park. Because traditional data is often viewed backwards, operations managers have a limited and delayed perspective on the performance of operations and, more importantly, what needs to change. A growth mindset as an operations manager is about demonstrating the benefits of success and failure, as well as encouraging both.
In many ways, implementing this global vision is the responsibility of the chief operating officer (COO).The chief operating officer must combat these trends in macrostrategy and empower teams to make their own decisions. The CEO's vision takes shape in a new objective operating model that responds to evolving customer demand. Information flows through the organization like streams that flow into a river: the challenge of the operations manager is to ensure that these flows are not obstructed, focusing on communication, optimization and decision-making. As the director of operations, you must ensure that all the managers you have are needed to make decisions and not complicate execution. By aligning teams according to corporate strategy and flattening the decision-making hierarchy, operations managers are prepared to change their organizations to a modern operating model.