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Understanding Operations: What It Takes To Be Successful

People in operations are especially entrepreneurial. They focus on the companies potential, based on what can be done in the present. They are the creative engine that leads the team. Most people are not cut out for this role. Those who are, share these attributes.


Wants/can relate to anyone.

An operations job entails getting people to work together. This means communicating with every level of the organization, not to mention the people that work outside of the business (partners, manufacturers, vendors, influencer's, etc.). Making connections with people past the initial give-and-take work relationship is substantially beneficial to both sides, in terms of how much can be accomplished. In my experience as a valet, if I can find ONE thing that the guest has some personal insight on, or segways into a subject they understand, I am twice as likely to get a better tip. It can be anything: a car sticker, clothes, sports. Parents are too easy, because if they don't talk about anything else, they will talk about their kids. To make these connections, good listening skills are required. An operationist knows that meeting a need starts with good listening.


Versatility

Operational managers not only have an abundance of knowledge specifically catered to a business, but use that knowledge to solve a plethora of problems. A person in operations does not get overwhelmed with the ever-changing workload. They thrive under pressure of multiple people and treat every responsibility with 100% effort, no matter how monotonous. The urge to learn/do everything is more common with the operational mindset. This role attracts curious people. Having a general curiosity for whatever your're doing is the only sure-fire way to cope with the huge amount of diverse responsibilities put on an operational role.


Team Player

If the departments of a business cannot build off each other, no profit will be made. Operations' ensures teamwork. People in operations are self-assured(but in a good way). They push for quick results, quick communication, and they push people to reach their full potential. They know it's up to them to set an example of constant growth, especially when their team is at their lowest point. The ability to collaborate, give good feedback, reassure, and push people to improve is vital to being an operationist.


The Hard-Skills

There are not as many measurable skills needed for an operations role, especially at entry-level. Regardless, a person in operations should have basic knowledge of algebra, statistics, be able to implement it into data, and then interpret the result. A person in operations is no stranger to Excel. They also have a general understanding of all the software's used across their organization. What that specific set of software's is, depends entirely on the type of business.


Operations' gets a bad rap because it is not self-explanatory like sales or marketing. This role is deceptively hard and involves way more than meets the eye. It takes a leader who can tinker on a small scale, as well as tweak strategies on a large scale. To be successful in this department you need personability, composure, and a relentless, over-the-top will to improve.


Summarizing quote:

"In the end, all business operations can be reduced to three words: people, product, and profits."

-Lee Lacocca

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