Value of Common Understanding
Commonality, especially if an organization has multiple branches, is essential for maintaining a mutual understanding of operations and expectations.
Even with the best intentions, the way information is received and interpreted can vary per employee or manager.
When a discrepancy occurs the consequences can be vast. Operational imbalances lead to the issues of workflow, output, reporting and performance, all of which can impact your bottom line.
A Tale of Two Managers
Take into consideration the following example of two operations managers:
- One based in Dallas.
- The other based in Houston.
Both managers run identical operations, from:
- Staffing levels
- Processing volumes
Their resources and job functions are exactly the same. In theory, output and compliance of both branches should also be identical, yet an inconsistency prevails.
The discrepancy occurs during monthly operations reviews with the management team.
- Houston manager reports a 100% compliance rate within a 24-hour processing window.
- Dallas manager reports a steady, yet varied, compliance rate ranging from 95-98%.
Each month, the Dallas manager must face grief from management due to the inability to meet the 24-hour service level achieved in Houston.
Despite various concerted efforts, the Dallas manager is consistently unable to match the reported performance in Houston. Inevitably he maintains some holdover at the end of the month.
A Visit is Requested
After six months of reprimands and dissatisfaction from management, the Dallas manager requests a visit to study the Houston operations.
The goal, of course, is to observe their processes and ultimately mimic and apply them to the Dallas branch. Surely, there must be some secret key or missing piece of the puzzle…
Finding the Secret Key
First thing in the morning, the Dallas manager flies direct to Houston. The manager arrives early to the office and prepares for a day of intense observations and careful study.
The manager notes employee arrival patterns, workflow, processes and a myriad of other metrics. By the end of the day, the Dallas manager is nowhere nearer to understanding the “secret” key.
In fact, the manager is more confused and frustrated, as no noticeable difference in operations is detected. During a follow-up meeting, the Dallas manager displays the analysis recorded, showing no significant discrepancies between his office and Houston’s.
“How do you do it? How do you consistently meet the 24-hour compliance level when our operations are seemingly identical? What am I missing? What is your secret?”
The Houston manager simply smirks and says, “It’s easy. Today, our office processed 8 hours of work. Tomorrow, we’ll process an additional 8 hours of work, and on the third day, we’ll process the remaining 8 hours. In total, all work is processed within 24 hours, hence our 100% compliance within a 24-hour window.”
The Houston manager, clearly proud, left the Dallas manager stunned. The following morning, the Dallas manager flew back to the office for a rather pointed meeting with management to discuss observations and explain the clear lack of common understanding across branches.
Client testimonials will agree, a key component of the Managing Operations Workshop is gaining an understanding of how to achieve commonality among management staff when it comes to data collection, metrics, reporting and operations.
Looking for hands-on practice and mentoring, to learn the ins and outs of achieving mutual understanding across your team? Consider joining the upcoming Managing Operations Workshop, where you’ll have the opportunity to participate in group exercises, computer simulations and independent study focused on several core necessities for effective management.