OpEx Solutions, Inc.

'There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently
that which should not be done at all'.

—Peter F. Drucker.





Distractions Impede Transformation

by John P. Gay, P.E., OpEx Solutions



Effective leadership engagement has been a primary cause of success or failure to transform. I have seen both engaged and disengaged transformations. Almost all have sponsorship, but there is a degree of engagement needed beyond merely allocating money to show support.

I led a strategic project to improve the metrics dashboard for company-wide operations leadership. The old one was universally disliked. People spent far more time arguing why the dashboard was wrong than they spent making decisions on what to do differently. Rather than giving focus, it gave them distractions. The old dashboard had been developed and adopted in great haste, led by a very small team of “experts,” with very little input from voice of the customer. It was symptomatic of a culture that said, “Successful companies have this — we need one, too.” We wanted to win the race without running it.

With input from the VP’s and Directors, the new dashboard design fixed problems of inaccurate metrics summaries and false-positives on trouble alarms. All was well until it came time for the programming changes. Operations had been stripped of programmers in one of our many reorganizations. Corporate policy required the use of 3rd party programmers, with IT’s obscure internal approval process moving at glacial speed. This dragged out the project by two months. Drucker’s observation — “Culture beats Strategy” was proving true.

Many things went wrong while transforming Leadership’s behavior around metrics. There were obstacles slowing down the work — distractions of a split and a pending merger. These put pressure on spending and leaders’ time, making decision processes even slower. The Leader Standard Work was changing (from that when the project started), giving less and less time for reflection and new metrics.  We were trying to do too many things at once, and did not put some things on hold, or drop them entirely, to give our organization better focus on the critical things. By the time we were ready to roll out the finished dashboard, Operations was reorganizing yet again, and Leadership had no time or energy to follow through and complete the project. 

On another note, let me tell you of a successful transformation through leadership engagement. We implemented sales and operations planning in less than six months, eventually reducing inventories in our long-lead-time business by well over 50%, freeing up a lot of cash. The key was our vice president, who personally led every monthly meeting, staying with it for well over a year, requiring full attendance and on-time preparation from both Operations and Sales & Marketing groups. It was not going to be a good day if you arrived late or had not done your homework. I remember him particularly because he rarely used PowerPoint, preferring to write on a chart pad. He was a hands-on guy, and his personal attention to the set of rituals was critical to the success of the transformation.

In summary, if you want to have a successful transformation, you need both sponsorship (resources) and clarity (focus) in the face of distractions. These are getting worse with the number of meetings and emails caused by radical changes — mergers and acquisitions, splits, or new operating systems. We can’t delay or stop these things, but we can choose to focus our leadership presence on finishing a few critical efforts. Have you decided what those are? Do you know (for certain) how well they are going? 

Your transformation needs your leadership, and effective leadership requires your engagement. How do you need to spend your time to make 2018 a success? 


 Training for Success


Establishing a management system that fits your organization's specific needs is fundamental in planning and setting goals that are linked to the organization's mission and vision.

Fifteen leaders from seven organizations attended Leader Training Week, the OpEx Solutions flagship training for management leaders held in Austin, Texas October 16-18, 2017. The three days of training: Integrated Management System for Leaders, Enterprise Transformation for Leaders, and Strategic Metrics for Leaders, encapsulate determining the current system an organization is using, identifying gaps, developing the strategy for transformation, and establishing meaningful metrics for positive impact. 


Planning for Success 

A strong, well-thought out strategic plan sets the stage for a successful year. Although this is widely accepted, many organizations go about their strategic planning in a rather haphazard way without a formal planning process.

The CenTex OpEx Consortium brought together management leaders in the September Leader Strategy Session focusing on Strategic Planning for 2018 to share their experience and ideas on how to better execute the process for their 2018 strategic planning.


Some of the key takeaways of the group included aligning resources, setting firm project priorities, and identifying potential gaps that can lead to failing to execute the strategic plan.



OpEx Solutions is an organization that helps identify strategic areas for improvement and provides effective high-value, low-cost solutions, training, and project management to drive significant productivity improvement through the use of operational excellence tools and systems in most manufacturing and service industries.

With a variety of offerings to choose from, we're confident of working with your organization to find and define your own way through:

  • Executive Coaching
  • World-class Training
  • Dedicated Workshops
  • Knowledge Network
  • Project Management

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us.

Find out more About Us, then look at our Stategy to make your possibilities a reality.


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