“A goal without a plan is just a wish” -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Successful organizations know that a good plan is needed to achieve a goal. But how do you know whether your plan is good, or if it’s just a wish? Operational Performance Thinking can help make sure those goals are more than wishes. It is all about how the plan gets you to that goal. Be clear about what the change you are making will do: Will it:
- Provide a better member experience
- Reduce costs through automation
- Ensure compliance with regulations
- Bring innovation to the marketplace
Operational Performance Thinking requires a deep commitment to rational thinking and flexibility to make decisions with people, processes, and technology in mind. It means that projects and change efforts place as much value on delivering timely technical solutions as they do on workforce readiness and process changes that need to occur simultaneously. The project team needs to look outside of the technical resource schedule and testing effort to always keep an eye on what we are trying to achieve; and evaluating if the current path gets us there. Too often course correction is frowned upon just to meet a deadline; and often the deadline was arbitrarily set. Successful leaders practice Operational Performance Thinking by always focusing people, process, and technology solutions to achieve the desired outcome. Projects change dynamically to produce better outcomes. Processes speed delivery to the customer. Progress and innovation happen. Operational Performance Thinking is the best way to drive your initiatives to achieve your business outcomes. If you focus on business outcomes, the path becomes clear; allowing the best decisions, solutions, and compromises to be made. It puts project owners in the driver’s seat and expects that technology, processes, and people discover opportunities to improve the solution and overcome challenges. Operational Performance thinking is not about revisiting decisions that have already been made, but rather understanding that decisions can and should be enhanced as new information evolves and new questions arise. We encourage project owners to track the desired outcomes in a concise manner, to revisit often, and share. We’ve included a snapshot of our template below! Adopting an Operational Performance Thinking mindset is valuable because your organization’s challenges are often difficult and always unique; requiring flexibility, contemplation, sound judgment and courage. And this means that you may not arrive at your outcome exactly when you thought you would. You may get there sooner, and it might be later depending on how you shape the path along the way. The challenge for organizations desiring change, and in turn improved outcomes, is finding out how to shape the winding path, and how to do it with the right mix of pragmatism and speed. Operational Performance Thinking is a meaningful framework to drive change and follows a common set of principles:
- Seamlessly connecting the dots of operations, project management and performance change yields desirable business outcomes.
- When business outcomes drive project level decision making, resources collaborate across disciplines. The collaboration produces better answers than siloed solutioning can produce.
- Adopting change at an accelerated pace requires a thoughtful and pragmatic plan.
- Business, technical, and project requirements are complete only when the approach is cohesive; ensuring the needs of the entire cross functional team.
- How can we get there as quickly as possible?
- Can we rearrange our deliverables and implement part of the project sooner?
- Can we deliver in shorter spurts to achieve outcomes as we go?
- Can we change a process or rearrange resources to get where we want to go?