My operations playbook

Operations are not always organisational.

As I gear up for an exciting new gig, I've decided to lift the curtain on how I tackle fresh assignments.

Here's how I operate:

🔎 Complete Company OS assessment

The first step in any assignment is to complete the full Company Operating System assessment.

I use this method to get an overview of any company quickly. For some, the assessment itself gives clarity. For some, it does not. It's not the goal, however. All of my clients certainly know their company better than I do.

The assessment aims to set us up for success in the following steps.

♟️ Set strategies

Having completed the Company OS assessment, we have data for our strategic objectives.

The assessment made our implicit thoughts explicit and data-driven. And we use the results to design 1 to 5 strategies. Less is more. Five is usually too much, but sometimes it is sensible.

Strategies convey the general approach to our challenge and what we want to achieve. These are almost like aspirational headlines. Like objectives in the OKR framework. Our moves to win the game—no need to go specific here.

Some random examples:

  • Increase the efficiency of our operations (overhead too high)
  • Establish a new management system (to improve communication and accountability)
  • Launch a continuous strategy process (to focus and make better decisions faster)
  • Become a workplace where people thrive and grow (work too stressful)

🎯 Define results

Next, we set up the desired results for the strategies.

It's crucial because these strategies mean nothing without coherent actions. And coherent actions are nothing without concrete results.

Ideally, these results are MECE (mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive) and SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound). Forgive my jargon. I want to signify that there's no place for obscurity and broadness when defining results.

These and only these results define if we achieved the result. 

For example, the better workplace strategy could include the following results:

  • Flexible work policies introduced (by date)
  • Reduction of employee turnover rate by 20% (by date)
  • Overall employee satisfaction score improved to 90% (by date)

Or for example, the management system strategy could include the following results:

  • Introduce a new communication platform/tool (by date)
  • Achieve a 20% increase in project milestones being met on time (by date)
  • Launch bi-weekly accountability check-ins, leading to a 30% increase in task completion rates (by date)
  • Have management complete training programs focusing on leadership and accountability (by date)

🏃‍♂️ Get things done

Finally, it's all about getting things done—about executing those coherent actions to make things happen. What is the next thing that needs to get done to make things happen? We'll let's get it done!

I typically run weekly sprints to determine the most important things to do any week. And then execute those tasks as well and diligently as possible. There will be wins and failures along the way, and those learnings can be used to our advantage during the next sprint cycle—or, if major, during the next strategic cycle.

🎁 Wrap it up

This is my operations playbook — a tried and tested approach I stand by, regardless of an organisation's current dynamics.

I believe in a systematic way to achieve results. Maybe my methods can spark some inspiration for your journey!


** If I'm working as an operator (Interim COO or OPS Advisor). The CEO Coaching method is a bit different. But that's a whole other story.

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