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Improving Operational Business Models for Scale

Improving Operational Business Models for Scale
Please see the following summary of the core ideas from this conversation at the Summit. We did our best to clarify the ideas for you. Please refer to the video for specific details, ideas, and context.

Moderated by: Gabe Dunlop Chief Operating Officer at Upteaming

Speakers include:

  1. Sherrod Davis Chief Operating Officer at EcoMap Technologies
  2. Michael Davis Head of Strategic Services at Ally.io
  3. Stephenie Young Advisor & Chief of Staff at Spectrum Health West Michigan

How to learn from mistakes:

Stephenie: look at what the follow-through looks like after a mistake….Failure has taught me to guide something through the process, but it also really taught me a lot about how to trust other people.

How to build trust:

Michael: for every strategic planning process, we take the time to make sure that we have actually built trust. We take time to be super direct and honest with each other. Then, when going into those things, we're taking the time to get to know each other. Vulnerability is one way to build trust. 

Sherrod: one of the ways to be vulnerable is just to ask questions and ask questions authentically… One of the critical elements to being an effective Chief of Staff is actually building allies. 

On operational business models:

Michael: an operating model is a series of activities, steps and processes that you use to remain aligned against a broader mission.

Sherrod: we also have an alignment plan. It’s an artifact that is representative of the business model at the top, vision at the bottom. Everything in between is just a reflection of how you build the values into those decisions that ultimately lead to accomplishing your vision.

Stephenie: we have operational deployment system, which we designed in-house. It’s a 10 week period, where our president sets the goal.

On executing operational business models:

Sherrod: the most important element is having a shared language.

Michael:  I absolutely see nuanced operating models. I think the thing that can't be as nuanced, first and foremost, is your goal framework. The way you communicate progress is actually the most important thing… You need people who can translate between these different operating models, and keep everyone informed. 

On what you can do as a Chief of Staff on this topic: 

Michael: all the feedback you are getting should be tracked in a central place. Hopefully you have a customer relationship management system and it’s helping you prioritize what things you're going to give to your customers — you should also have that for your own teams. What are people telling you? What feedback are you getting? What ideas do people have? You should collect all those things in one place.

Sherrod: On a quarterly basis, we meet and we write a narrative as a leadership team for each bucket of the organization. In each bucket of the organization, we review what went well, what didn’t, and what are the priorities for the next quarter? That is then published to the entire company. Weeks after that, we hold an Ask Me Anything session, where people can submit anonymous questions, and the leadership team has to respond and answer to what was written in the narrative. 

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