Bringing Operational Excellence into a Consulting Practice: Damien’s Journey with COE

Damien (a Consulting Principal in a large technology provider) and his business were under significant cost pressure driven by external market changes. Prior to engaging in Core Operational Excellence (COE), Damien observed a lack of continuous improvement focus, plus data and reporting were not consistently utilised to drive performance enhancements.  

To address these issues and achieve their goals, Damien sought solutions beyond simplistic staff reductions, which were having adverse effects in other areas. While external consultants had provided guidance on lean practices, it didn’t seem sustainable for long-term improvement.

COE proved to be a challenging yet rewarding program that allowed Damien to further develop his leadership and operational management skills (the EQ and the OQ). Through workshops and feedback from Anita and the QBS team, he was pushed to think deeper and get the maximum benefit from the program’s activities. The practical nature of COE, coupled with the use of straightforward business language, made it engaging and effective. Collaboration with various stakeholders uncovered the direct impact they had on the business, fostering joint problem-solving efforts.

Impressed by COE’s outcomes, the organisation extended participation to both leaders and emerging leaders across their organisation. Senior leaders underwent a shorter version of the program, equipping them with the necessary language and knowledge to support operational excellence initiatives.

Following Damien’s COE journey, several positive changes were observed within the organisation. Skills matrices were developed across teams to facilitate training plans. Documentation of processes improved delivery reliability, and knowledge of continuous improvement (CI) processes increased leading to a CI mindset across the teams.  The organisation’s drive to improve processes intensified, and individuals felt empowered to drive change within their teams and across the business.  Team engagement increased by over 15 points.

Damien’s key takeaways from COE emphasised the importance of alignment among leaders and teams. By participating in similar programs, they ensured a shared understanding and commitment to operational excellence.

Despite initial scepticism from some within the consulting business, COE proved its efficacy in driving tangible results. Concerns about reducing total headcount were countered with the argument that enhanced skills and value would make individuals more valued rather than less.

Damien highly recommends COE to others seeking operational excellence. With many of his peers and team members having completed the program, his business is advancing even faster with an operational excellence mindset. COE has become a game changer for Damien and his team, providing a clear understanding of why they operate the way they do. They have also recommended COE to their clients, recognising the need for organisational alignment and efficiency.

In addition to his own growth, Damien took on the role of coaching other graduates, an experience he found highly rewarding.

Damien’s journey highlights the transformative impact of COE in driving operational excellence, fostering collaboration, and empowering individuals and organisations to thrive in a challenging business landscape.  If your journey feels like Damien’s, it might be time to measure the hard skills gaps in your business. Check out our Leadership Skills Audit here.

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