Why Operational Innovation Matters Today

Becoming an innovative strategic partner obsessed with your customer's needs
My entire career thus far has been rooted in building successful relationships with customers and ensuring that their buying patterns and experiences are always positive. I've led teams in sales, operations, customer success and consulting; the common theme through all these roles has developed a desire to ensure every time a customer interacts with a company it's a flawlessly executed transaction. And for that to happen, there's an expertly choreographed performance that occurs because every business function within an organization is working together. It's not just what you see or hear, it's all the behind-the-scenes work involving people and processes that create an optimal operational model that will always deliver the best product or experience to the customer.

Identifying operational challenges at every turn
Nevertheless, we have seen unprecedented disruption across the business world. The pandemic has been a catalyst for change that has impacted every company across every part of their operations. From the great resignation to the great reshuffle, labor shortages continue across industries. The workforce, office dynamics, culture and behavioral norms appear to be forever changed. Office space is underutilized at costly levels, the cost of goods is at historic highs, and customer expectations have dramatically shifted putting a premium on technology, digital investment, and transformation. ‘Change the business’-based projects delayed by COVID are now at a critical juncture. To remain competitive and fully invest in their future, organizations cannot merely operate to survive, they need to innovate so that they can truly thrive.

Evaluating your operational model
Operational leaders assessing these challenges are faced with a 360-degree evaluation of their operation to determine what improvements are needed to their model, how to scope and prioritize efforts, and what investments are needed to accomplish post pandemic growth.    

         

Making a leadership commitment for transformation
Yet these questions are only the tip of the iceberg. Many managers find themselves overwhelmed by the complexities involved in evaluating their operations and finding new strategies to help their company grow. There’s no secret sauce or easy answer. Rather, a leadership commitment to innovating and evolving operational strategy by being open to change and understanding the pressing need to do so. The operational innovation road to being the best is not always a smooth one, however, it’s a path that organizations must travel down to keep pace.

Creating new ways to operate
The winning roadmap to achieve operational innovation and position your business for long term growth requires not just making continuous improvements but creating entirely new ways to operate. It involves a recombination of workforce, process, and technology enablers which are identified and chosen by leveraging a blend of qualitative and quantitative data, and fully activating cross functional partnerships. It also entails dedicated resource allocations to analyze, plan, build and execute. Furthermore, your new operational strategy should be communicated consistently to your workforce at every level of your organization to demonstrate its significance. Though adapting to change can be difficult for some, a fully informed and invested workforce will always be better prepared and willing to implement new tactics.

Executing a winning operational strategy
If my operational model is fully functional, then why, you might ask, should my company innovate? Businesses that are truly customer obsessed demand a constant state of hyperfocus on always creating something better; they don’t stand still. If losing is not an option, it is imperative that business leaders act now to find innovative ways to turn their organizations around. I believe in helping organizations build long term transformation plans that are fully implemented to expand their business, grow their market share, develop their people, and build a strong culture. It demands grit and determination, but when companies succeed in doing this, they truly win. They win over their competitors, they weather external factors, they maximize profitability, and retain key talent. It’s not just about a winning streak, it’s about executing an innovative operational strategy.

Mike O'Connor, Partner

 

 

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