Operational Readiness – the new MBA
“Toyota is a business – not a school.”
Sam Komori, former President of Toyota
There’s a tendency in some workplaces to confuse people development with academic pretension. If that’s happening in your workplace, it’s something to look out for.
There is nothing wrong with academic training, and indeed this blogger has an advanced degree and so do many of his colleagues at Team Results. We even write academic papers, present at conferences and collaborate on thought-leading team dynamics research in a close partnership with the Brain Research Institute at UCLA.
But, academic training alone is never a complete picture. Understanding the six-dimensioned hyperplastic leadership theories of Boondoggle and Fandangle (Journal of Pretension In Psychology, Nosuch University, 1994) will not help you one bit when you have a team member who desperately wants to punch another team member – right now. It would be like training a heart surgeon academically but never allowing them to get the feel of a scalpel or the right technique for tying a suture. Quadruple bypass, anyone?
Smart leaders in today’s economy are focusing their resources on Operational Readiness, not on academic training. In the modern workplace, getting the right academic credentials is increasingly up to the individual and not the employer – especially when people change jobs more frequently than ever and organizations restructure so often. The most up-to-date and industry-leading organizations in 2013 focus instead on making sure they have a team that can hit deadlines, keep to budgets and perform to standard – NOW. That’s what’s meant by Operational Readiness.
Operational Readiness can only be created practically, through simulation, skilled facilitation and rehearsal. It cannot be taught in the intellect alone. A heart surgeon certainly needs a medical degree, but it is the Operational Readiness of the team in the operating room that saves the patient’s life.
Invest your scarce resources in practice, practice, practice of Operational Readiness for your work team and let them study for academic qualifications on their own time. Every work team should get away from work to focus on rehearsing strategies for flexibility, adaptation, resilience and other aspects of Operational Readiness for two days a year. This is not the time for business planning, conferencing or partying – those are all worthwhile but different activities. It’s also not the time for lectures, traditional teambuilding or consultants. This is the time for focusing 100% on the strategies the team needs to be ready to perform at peak efficiency NOW. Strategy and rehearsal are the keys.
Make no mistake, the prize in 2014 and beyond will go to the team that is operationally ready.
If you are wondering how to impart operational readiness skills, give me a call on 202 257 5593. We aren’t consultants, so all advice is free.