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Operations Q&A: How much do you really know?

Operations Q&A: How much do you really know?

April 30, 2015

Question: How much do you really know?

Answer: I have had several engagements over the years in which I have been asked to evaluate staff performance. In a recent case, the warehouse manager has been with the distributor for 10 years. Over the decade, he showed enough of the "right stuff" to be elevated to his current position. But now, as the company continues to grow, he might have reached his level of competency. Maybe he is no longer sitting in the right seat on the bus. (Bus analogy courtesy of author Jim Collins in his book Good to Great.)

Bottom Line: We all have a certain level of innate intelligence and capabilities. However, at points in our lives and careers, we reach a threshold where what we know is no longer enough. We then need to reach out for more knowledge.

Several years ago I was engaged by a company who had gotten themselves into operational dysfunction. The person in charge of operations had been with the company for 36 years. His experience prior to joining this firm was as a salesperson for Sparkletts Water. He knew nothing about operations when he started. He had not attended courses. He only knew what he knew … and that was not enough.

A recent conversation with a client led to this frustrated comment by one of the owners: "We make it available but no one takes advantage of the offer." The "it" here? Classes. Seminars. Educational opportunities to become a better employee.

We all typically lead very busy lives. The thought of adding another obligation is not always appealing. The notion of returning to school may not be attractive. But if you want to advance in your career, the more you know, and the more proficient you become at what you do, the greater the chance to get that promotion.

If your company has a program to support further education of their employees, seek it out. Take full advantage of the opportunity. If they do not, ask them for support. You might be surprised.

Should corporate sponsorship not be available, do not stop there. Amazon offers thousands of books that can help you get better. Look to your local community colleges or online colleges or learning centers for classes that are affordable and helpful.

As was alluded to above, you only know what you know. It rests on your shoulders to take your career – and life – to the next levels.

I welcome your commentsat lee@schwartzpro.com.

© 2018 Gale Media, Inc.

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