Before Byron Brink crossed paths with the COE program through Quality Business Services, he found himself navigating the complexities of Telstra’s operations with a sense of uncertainty. His daily experience centred around these concerns:
- Lack of a clear view of the delivery pipeline, focusing solely on monthly outcomes.
- Metrics centred around historical performance rather than anticipating future challenges.
- Overemphasis on addressing bottom performers rather than the collective business performance.
- A complacent team, content with the status quo.
Effective ways to serve customers
Byron’s primary aim was to find more effective ways to serve Telstra’s customers, both for his team and himself.
Previous solutions such as periodic campaigns to accelerate ageing orders had not prevented new orders from encountering similar bottlenecks in the process.
How COE and IOE Transformed the Situation:
After completing the COE program, Byron realised the critical importance of data and the narrative it conveys. COE provided him with a structured approach to evaluate his business, pinpointing root causes instead of just addressing symptoms. This transformation had several impacts:
- A focus on proactive problem-solving, anticipating issues, and driving change early in the process.
- A reduction in the average order age from 160 days to 95 days, freeing up substantial people capacity.
- Improved accuracy in forecasting and capacity modelling.
- Implementation of robust improvement programs, enhancing the customer experience during the delivery lifecycle.
- Identification of automation opportunities to streamline order entry processes.
Getting started on the transformation wasn’t easy. There were some significant challenges to overcome in the early days, such as time management and breaking the cycle of being too engrossed in daily operations to work on the business. However Byron tackled this by allocating dedicated time for his portfolios, making incremental progress daily.
Following his COE experience, Byron enrolled all his team members in the Introductory Operational Excellence (IOE) program to ensure they shared a common language and could accelerate improvements. This move, initially met with resistance by some team members, resulted in a sense of pride and accomplishment upon completion, and they experienced some standout results. Here are some of their insights:
- Leaders should spend more time working on the business, enabling their teams to perform effectively.
- Management support is essential for successful transformations.
- Collaborative approaches, sharing ideas and findings, can drive meaningful change.
- Metrics and value stream analysis are crucial for managing and improving processes.
- Processes are vital to ensure a consistent and repeatable customer experience.
- Sharing the learning journey with the team fosters a culture of continuous improvement.
“I continue to apply the tools and mindset I acquired during COE to shape my business planning. It’s been invaluable in driving improvements and efficiencies.
I’ve made it a point to encourage everyone within and beyond our team to undertake the IOE or COE programs. This not only fosters a shared language but also cultivates a common understanding of operational excellence.
Furthermore, I’ve had the privilege of mentoring fellow COE participants. This experience has not only enriched my perspective but also ensured that my peers and stakeholders are equipped with the same language and mindset. As a mentor, I find immense satisfaction in helping individuals apply these principles in their work environments, connecting their experiences to the concepts of Operational Excellence (OE) and the Plan-Do-Study-Adjust (PDSA) mindset.” Byron Brink
If you are a leader ready to work on the business, rather than in it, you might like to download our leadership skills audit to find the hard skills gaps that exist in your team which are preventing you from stepping up. Get it here.