Being the VP of Operations is not a role to take lightly. There are so many functions to your job that at the end of a week your head can be spinning from all your projects and tasks. However, you always want to be improving for yourself and your organization. Here are three key tips for being a better VP of Operations.
1. Set Clear Standards
This seems really easy up front: you have a meeting and new standards or performance goals are decided upon for the company. The function that gets missed most often is clearly communicating those standards down the channel to the associates that have to meet them. Many times there is a lack of communication and the new standard gets passed on like a game of telephone, where the message gets further and further diluted as it is shared. This is why process management and store audits are so vital for companies to validate that store performance is at the level it needs to be. Standards cannot just be set, they have to be measured and enforced.
It is also important to use store audits to effectively find out why standards are not being met – and don’t just assume that it was because employees were lazy or did not want to put forth the effort. Instead, try using the Toyota “5 Why’s” system. If you are not familiar with this problem solving method, you ask why continually to get to the root(s) of the problem. For more information of the 5 Why’s problem solving method, click here.
2. Meet Your Company-Wide Standards Yourself
Once your standards are set, it is incredibly vital to make sure that you live up to them yourself. The same goes true for your entire management team, both corporate and at the stores. Taking shortcuts and skipping “little details” makes it acceptable for your employees to take the same shortcuts and skip the same details. It also leads people to question where else you cut corners and what else doesn’t matter to you. The little details can make all the difference in your work, especially if they start to work against you.
3. Develop the People Around You
One of the biggest favors you can do for yourself is to invest in the people around you. Operations is a monumental task that encompasses so many different aspects of the business that it takes a lot of people to keep the wheels turning, and those people need to be performing well in order to really make things happen.
Never be afraid to take a look at your training procedures to see if they can be improved. People usually spend a good deal of time on the preliminary training, but they do not always look at what they are doing for current employees. Take a second and think about what you do to enrich current employees’ experiences, and perhaps you have found place where you can greatly improve your company.