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People Operations, It's Not Soft Skills, It's Strategy

"One may know how to conquer without being able to do it."

― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

October usually marks the full welcoming of all things Fall. But as people enjoy the colder temperatures outside, things are generally heating up in the business environment. October also marks the start of Q4, strategy season, and around this time of year, businesses typically are doing one of three things.


Scenario 1. Leaders and employees are reviewing revenue targets and goals set at the beginning of the year, wondering if and how they'll hit their numbers or goals and the consequences if they don't. Depending on performance expectations, incentives, and rankings, anxiety starts to take root and self-preservation kicks in. If you're a small business owner, this could take on an elevated sense of dread if it's happening year over year.

Scenario 2. If there is a glimmer of hope that targets can be met: There's a rush to "rally the troops" to "finish strong", an "all hands-on deck" mentality. Allocation of time, attention, and resources are focused on pushing the full throttle to reach the finish line, in hopes of delivering results. Employees work overtime and do all they can to ensure they're not the one to drop the ball to revenue recognition.

Scenario 3. Business owners/leaders find they're on track to smoothly finish the year according to plan or even with some over achievement in goals. Active strategy sessions are being held, and areas of opportunity and areas of risk for the upcoming year are surfaced. Clarity translates into directives allowing leadership to solicit input from their functional units. Managers are engaging their teams to provide front line input. Company goals are established for the following year, cascaded to drive additional initiatives at the business unit level, and are all on track to begin with the start of Q1.


Which of the three scenarios is the most ideal? All three have strategy, goals, leadership, and employees working, but only one is on track to achieving a result. More importantly, which one most likely considered their people within the strategy? The quote by one of the greatest strategists in history, Sun Tzu "One may know how to conquer without being able to do it." In the Art of War, many of Suz Tzu's strategies were built around how he lead and treated his people. As a leader, you may know in your mind how to win, but do can you actually do it, alone?


We wholeheartedly believe that the presence of a comprehensive people operations strategy is the differentiating factor between hitting targets, barely making them, or missing them altogether.


Leading People.

A leader only exists if there are followers. And people don’t just follow anyone. A “leader” by title may get compliance through their formal authority, but a true leader, regardless of title, can foster loyalty, and command a level of effort that only results from inspiring leadership. Think Capturing Hearts and Commitment.


Inspiring Change.

In today’s fast-paced environment people are experiencing a change in every aspect of life. In both personal and professional settings businesses are moving toward automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Data allows us to have more information than ever before in history and we're more connected than ever. Yet change management is often the biggest challenge for businesses and business leaders. Effective transformation requires inspirational leadership. When the desired outcomes of the changes are achieved, the future of your company becomes clear. Think Clarity vs. Chaos


Transforming Operations.

Business performance is a roll-up of individual performance. If your people aren't performing and your operations are inefficient; your business won't reach its full potential. It's like competing with an injury. Being able to translate business strategy into an operational process and performance expectation determines if your business not only survives, but thrives. Think Executing Goals vs. Aspirations

The difference between knowing the strategy vs. executing it comes down to your processes and people. Our QV People Ops Compass represents the core streams of a people ops strategy and we highlight how companies, regardless of size, can Lead People. Inspire Change. Transform Operations.

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