Wherever you turn for business conversation - LinkedIn, Medium.com, Clubhouse - there are thousands of threads about how operational rhythm is changing in enterprises across the globe because of the pandemic.
Operating Rhythm Meaning
One of the less spoken about topics is how leaders need to enforce and reiterate their operating rhythm. “Operating rhythm” is a concept created by Six Sigma: that businesses should establish a process of communication between departments to ensure that operations are not interrupted.
Enforcing a leadership operating rhythm allows companies to enjoy several benefits.
- It builds stability for employees, even during tumultuous times
- It allows your company to execute decisions without relying on emotion or headlines
- It reinforces the good habits that got your company its current success
- It builds a system for out-executing your competition, letting you jump on opportunities and grow your business
At Object Edge, we build an operating rhythm by asking: “Who are our people and what are our processes and behaviors by which we set, execute, and measure our priorities.”
We created this approach by drawing from both Michael Greber’s landmark book The E-Myth and Scaling Up by Verne Harnish. These books outline the simple, yet profound, concept that businesses are run by systems, and systems are run by people, and that there are defined processes by which we can set up these systems.
Operating Rhythm Examples
“Who are our people?”
What are a Company’s systems by which they select, inspire, train, retain, and remove people into and out of the organization? Run their daily, weekly, and monthly? Set their yearly goals? Have they adapted these processes and systems for the pandemic? Have they clearly documented and communicated these changes?
Business Rhythm and Management Process
“What are our processes and behaviors?”
If their processes are their “WHAT,” then their behaviors are their “HOW.” Are the behaviors that govern interactions with clients, partners,and employees documented and shared? Most importantly, are an organization’s leaders having conversations with their teams about those behaviors and how they make their company better?
How to Create an Operating Rhythm Framework
“How do we set, execute, and measure our priorities?”
Every level of an organization should leverage people, processes, and behaviors to set priorities at the appropriate cadence levels. Project teams may set them daily or weekly, while leadership may set them quarterly and/or yearly.
Once set, there need to be processes in place to show how priorities will be executed. Leave no doubt in mind as to what the expected outcomes are and how teams should get there. As an aside, this doesn’t mean teams shouldn’t think or be creative. It simply means that there are models in place that govern expectations at a granular level.
Finally, once they’ve set their priorities and executed against them, organizations should continuously measure outcomes to ensure that they are tracking against those goals. It’s more important that conversations are continuously being had over successes and failures rather than the successes and failures themselves. Understanding why or why not goals are being met and then adjusting expectations, goals, and processes is the real win!
Wrapping it Up
Operating rhythms are more essential than ever due to the dramatic effects of the pandemic on businesses. They build stability, provide a reliable framework for decision making, reinforce good habits, and create a system for success.
If you haven’t stepped back to analyze your operating rhythm - if you even have one - now is the time.