Operations Getting a Seat at the Table

by: Member | Diamond Partner
Member | Diamond Partner

Working in an Operations role can be challenging, since you are typically reliant on a part of another department’s budget to achieve your objectives and end up having to build a business case with Sales, Marketing, or IT. (Marketing has nothing to complain about in comparison!)


Below are a few of my thoughts on how to change the perception of your business to bring Operations to the forefront. (Without having something break!)


What is the current perception of Operations?


  1. Firefighters: Fix a technology problem created by any part of the organization, after they have tried unsuccessfully to fix it themselves.

  2. Software Installers: Implement software that a department purchased. “We Bought “X” software and it needs to be up and running by the end of the week.”

  3. Reaction-based: A services organization to react to problems, rather than proactively identifying areas of improvement and preventing problems.


How do you change it?


The old saying of “dress for the job that you want instead of the one that you have” really applies to Operations. If you want to be perceived like other departments in your organization, you need to do the activities that they do regularly so that you are seen in the same way. (Watch out Sales and Marketing!)


Our current economic climate presents a golden opportunity for Operations since companies are looking to reduce budgets and headcount. That is typically achieved through making processes more efficient and relying more on technology to take over repetitive tasks. 


Below are a few example of ways to increase your exposure:


  • Analyze the Sales process and identify what parts can be made more efficient. Examples include entering data, segmenting prospects by engagement, qualified, etc., and automating follow-up tasks. Then, present those findings to leadership.


  • Pull together your 12 month operations plan.  You have likely received requests from all across the organization for help. Consolidate and prioritize those items into a plan with budget, necessary resources, and anticipated results.  Most other departments do this level of planning, and so should Operations.


  • Interview the Sales, Marketing, Product, and IT teams to understand if there are challenges they have been struggling with that Operations can solve with technology and establishing processes.  Tying operations initiatives directly to pain points is a great way to show you are proactive and will help change the perception.


I would love to get your thoughts on specific challenges you’re having or other ideas that you’ve used to successfully get a seat at the table. If you need someone to talk through your challenges we are all ears

Community Manager
Community Manager

Thank you for sharing this @Yeti_Chris 


Hey @Josh @willsmith @dianalcont @ShanePunt @Bryantworks @toricook @StefaniUAT  Any thoughts you would like to share with @Yeti_Chris  




Key Advisor


Thank you for sharing these insights. This in particular got me thinking:

"If you want to be perceived like other departments in your organization, you need to do the activities that they do regularly so that you are seen in the same way. (Watch out Sales and Marketing!)"

Along these lines, I recommend that the Operations Departments regularly share what they are currently working on, just like the Sales and/or Marketing Departments do during team meetings. If there isn't much to report, try asking one question from a larger-scale interview (depending upon the team size) rather than having a time-consuming survey to fill out all at once at a later date.
Often the perception of Operations is: "they keep quiet, only to be heard from when a major initiative is about to happen". For the rest of the team, "major initiative" usually translates to more work via filling out surveys, or a change in their current workflow (gasp!). This compounds the negative (or at least annoying) reputation Operations may unfairly receive. 
Do most Ops. Depts. share on a regular basis? 

Member | Diamond Partner
Member | Diamond Partner
I’ve seen many different approaches to how organization view Ops. A lot seems to depend on what department hires this role or of there is a separate PMO.