What is operations?

two women in business meeting

A common question I am asked is, “So...what exactly do you do?”

The short answer is that I provide Operations Management to my clients.

Yet, I find that statement usually needs a bit of clarity.I recently posted a poll on LinkedIn and asked the following question:

When you hear the word "operations", in relation to business, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

I provided the following options as answers: Administration, Organization, Systems & Processes. 86% of those who answered said Systems & Processes. 14% said Administration.

These responses were insightful and so encouraging to me because systems and processes are one of my greatest loves in business and life ❤️ Seriously, there are few things in life that I enjoy more than discovering ways to help myself and others do the things we need to do with greater efficiency and ease.

But, I digress. What I really want to do today is break down this concept of OPERATIONS and look at it from the perspective of both role and function.

Let’s start by digging into the ROLE operations management can have in your businesses.

I am a certified Director of Operations through The Ops Authority with Natalie Gingrich. In order to complete this 6 month certification I learned and practiced the ins and outs of things like Strategic Mapping, Team Management, HR, Project Management, Communication, Launch Management, Organizational Development, Key Performance Indicators and more.

In the corporate space, these skills would translate into the role of a Chief Operating Officer (COO) or Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Setting the titles aside, this would be a C-Suite role working within the same circle as the CEO.

In the online space, these skills translate into the role of Director of Operations (DOO) or Integrator. They can also translate into roles like Marketing Director, Operations Manager, Practice Manager, HR Manager, Project Manager. In most small businesses, the DOO often wears a few hats. For example, the DOO in a small business will usually be the one to take the lead on Project Management within the business or coordinate projects with a hired team (like web design or marketing).

DOO’s can be a fractional contractor (part time ~ 10 hours a week) or a full-time employee. All of that depends on your business structure, budget and needs. A DOO is dedicated to your business but the value is generally not based on hours clocked but in goals and deliverables being met.

Regardless of title, I am hoping that you have picked up on the trend that whomever you bring in to manage the operations in your business is someone whose role includes strategy, leadership and partnership.

This is not someone you bring on to simply dole out tasks to, but someone you trust to support you in running your business and to help make the key decisions that will move you closer to your vision.

Now, let’s take a look at the FUNCTION operations management can have in your business.

Those who answered the poll I mentioned are not wrong. Systems and processes are a key function of operations in a business. The DOO is responsible for analyzing the places in a business that are messy, chaotic and overall not working and work with the CEO and team to create clarity, efficiency and ease.

This is broad, but really includes almost every aspect of your business, including team roles and responsibilities, onboarding, offboarding, data tracking, standard operating procedures, planning and more.

More specifically, the DOO is a partner to the CEO ensuring that the work that is being done is aligned with the business’ mission and values and is moving the business toward the vision and goals with minimal distraction and waste.

In terms of relationships, the DOO is your go-to, the other side of your brain, the one who tells you the good news and the bad news, the one who will devise solutions to the problems the business is facing and will oversee the strategies needed to keep moving forward.

The DOO is a leader who will lead your team (if you have one) and provide the oversight and guidance necessary to ensure that all the things are being executed and implemented on time and with excellence. They will most likely manage your project management tool and follow through to make sure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed.

In essence, the DOO gives you space. Space to breath, create, and dream. The DOO allows you to function more fully in your role as the CEO by taking you out of all the day-to-day and back-end management of your business so that you can truly step into your greatness.

Pretty awesome, right? I’m a DOO and I feel like I’m ready to go hire my own DOO because having someone like this in my business would be so frickin amazing! You with me?

Are you a DOO, what else would you add to the descriptions I provided above?

Are you a business owner who has hired a DOO, I’d love to hear your experience.

Drop your comments below.

Be sure to check back for my next post where I walk you through my framework for determining when it's the right time to hire a DOO for your business.