June 22, 2015 | Filed Under: Operations

After reading a parenting book a while back, we adopted a technique that focused on training as a consequence.  The premise being that if a child performed an action other than what was expected, training needed to occur to show them the alternative correct behavior.  A quick example.

Your son yells at your daughter.  You pull your son aside and train him on how to speak effectively.  “Son, when you speak to others, especially when there is a difference of opinion, you speak like this…..”.  The alternative?  Yelling at your son for yelling at his sister and a consequence of cleaning the bathroom.

Which option of the two mentioned above do you think is more effective?  Operations is no different.


Here are a few questions to help develop a new team or enhance a stagnant established team.  The answers to these questions require thought as a part of a strategy.  A clear answer that is repeatedly trained, posted and talked about often is needed in order to achieve hyper-par results.

  1. Why does the team do what they do?
  2. What actions can cause the business to gain a customer?
  3. What actions can cause the business to lose a customer?
  4. How much is the monetary reward of a good decision?
  5. How much is the monetary repercussion of a bad decision?
  6. What customers/groups/lines of business’ require the most attention?
  7. What is expected of us?
  8. How do we delight our customers?


One of the things that can make your operations team most effective is by training soft skills.

  1. Communication
    1. What are the main points you want for your team to convey?
    2. How do we interact with others on our team and outside of our team?
  2. Email Handling
    1. How to avoid the 20 email deep threads
    2. Clearly make your point of your dos and donts in the first email
  3. Note Taking
    1. Team meetings without notes are forgotten
    2. How did the meeting with the customer go?
  4. Body Language
    1. How do you want for your team to be represented?
  5. Presentation skills
    1. We are always presenting whether the audience is internal or external

Ever left a meeting and felt like nothing had been accomplished?  It happens every day in a corporate environment.  Why?  It’s because of soft skills.


When training is finally discussed, technical training is often the only area of focus in the corporate environment.  The daily grind of keeping 5 9s , projects, meetings and documentation leaves us with little time for development.  Those who become highly skilled generally have a lab at home or pay for training themselves.

Core technical competencies are just that, core.  Your customers, internal and external, should have a similar technical experience with each member of the team.  Cross-training is a cost-effective way to provide technical knowledge and career path enhancements.  Vendor events are another way to provide training in a frugal manner.



All of this is great, but you as the leader, or you as a stakeholder have to believe it.  With our busy lives, we literally have to schedule time for our families and for ourselves.  It’s easy to say “My schedule is already booked” for whatever time you choose to enhance your team and each individual of your team.

And now that you know and will implement the suggestions, it’s time for coffee!