A while back I posted a poll to the Operations community on www.KaizenConnect.com with the following question:
What would you rather be – efficient or effective?
I did not post definitions in the poll, but two generally accepted definitions are listed below:
Efficient: Productive of desired effects - in other words - getting the maximum output with minimum resources. Being efficient focuses on end results.
There are many different styles of blog posts out there. What is great about knowing this is that it can help to bring diversity to your blog and also give you new ideas for posts! There are list posts ,tip posts, link posts, posts that answer a question, interview posts, posts that ask a question, and posts that profile an individual, product or organization.
Whether you call it a management dashboard, business intelligence dashboard, KPI management tool, or any other name – chances are that you have seen a dashboard-like tool in your workplace recently. Management dashboards – the term I’ll use throughout for consistency’s sake – have been around since the 1970’s, but became increasingly popular with the rise of web-based tools in the 90’s. Today they continue to maintain popularity. Luckily, for users like you and me, there are numerous free and for-fee resources that can teach us how to create dashboards on our own using existing software.
As the CFO of a small business, I typically find myself short on time to address all that needs addressing, and while I assume one typically gathers around him/her more assistance and resources as firm size grows, somehow I doubt being the CFO of a larger organization gets any easier or begets fewer rather than more tasks to complete.
Writing a blog entry can be an extremely daunting task, trust me I know.
Even though it has been on my to-do list for the past few days, writing this post keeps getting pushed to the bottom of my list. I think it is the flashbacks to the daunting writing prompts given to me in high school, stating something broad like, What is your favorite type of cookie and why and then making you write over 500 words in an hour.
One of the first maxims I was told when I started working full-time was "Don't talk about sex, politics and religion." It took me just a few weeks more to learn another taboo subject: salaries. Unless you are hired within a corporate cohort where everyone receives the same compensation package and signing bonus, you are usually in the dark about the salaries of those around you performing similar functions. This is escalated during bonus season, where the tie between performance and compensation can become even more blurred, thanks to a lack of transparency.
I manage the IT for a small company, the Kaizen Company. We are about 15 strong, with permanent employees in three countries. In addition, at any given time, we have employees in up to five additional countries on short term assignments. So while small, we are a global company.
As a small business owner and CFO, a typical day for me often entails little more than a series of triage operations. In facing such a challenging routine, non-essential tasks are of course the first to slip, usually landing on the "nice-to-have at a later date" list. Not surprisingly on my version of this list, one will find several items, double and triple starred, which read "document process X" or "review and update documentation of process Y." Sadly, these important tasks can languish on my rainy day list for weeks, months and, yes, sometimes even longer.
Having been a consultant for over a decade myself, I was curious to find out what were generally considered the top qualities consultants need to succeed. So, I looked into the literature and spoke with some consultants who work exclusively in the industry. My focus was on management consultants. I wasn’t greatly surprised by what I learned. Some things stuck out, however. One such thing is that technical knowledge and industry-specific experience, while important, were rarely cited as the most important. The quality most often cited was that of commitment to the client(s).
Despite holding the title Operations Manager for last three years, I didn’t really think I was in the operations business. I mean, I work in the field of international development – it’s special, it’s unique. I couldn’t possibly have anything in common with an operations manager at [insert name of large, operations-centric superstore of choice]. Turns out I was wrong. Maybe you are in the operations business too, but don’t know it. If at least 4 out of the 10 signs below are