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Building the Perfect Operations Team

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By: Ciaran Nagle, Global Marketing Manager, OND LLC

Take a solid alloy Mercedes engine block.
Add some Ford cylinders that are slightly too small. Wrap around some Honda
rings that are slightly too large. Fit Toyota spark plugs that don't synch with
the combustion cycle. And finally throw in some Mobil gas with the wrong vapour
What have you got?
You've got a metaphor for the typical corporation's
Operations Division. It works, sort of. But it's horribly inefficient and it will
break down completely if any load is placed upon it.
Most operations and back-office teams get
the work done, eventually. But too often they are more like a motley collection
of individuals than a smooth-running team machine. The employees were hired without
any regard for whether or not their underlying talent was a match for the needs of the work group. Let's look at
what all that inefficiency means.
Staff are restive because they
can't achieve what they were hired for
Management spend more time
hiring than doing
Other divisions are slowed down
as a consequence
A fortune is spent on external consultants
to fix the problem
Company profitability vanishes
like a dream at waking
Yet the cause of the problem is completely
avoidable. Staff were recruited for their skillsets and experience but without
any thought for how they would fit in the team. It was assumed that they would
all just 'get along' and work together in harmony. Yet if you looked back in
time at that operations division, you would find it never worked in harmony. The current management is repeating the
failed hiring practices of the past and hoping that somehow the outcome will be
It's a faint hope.
The good news however is that there is
genuine hope for the future. Over the last decade or so research in businesses
has developed and perfected an entirely new science. Teaming science. As more
and more work is performed by teams, not individuals, this teaming science is
bubbling to the top of the agenda in boardrooms everywhere. Among other things,
the science has revealed that an individual's natural strengths and talent -
that huge part of us which is invisible - is far more important to our
effectiveness at work than our learned skills.
And the
science is not immature or incomplete. It has been rigorously tested in both
Fortune 100 corporations as well as smaller enterprises and found to be 99.7%
accurate. Teaming science will help you build work teams that
high levels of engagement (job satisfaction)
low turnovers of staff        
easily managed
an inspiration to the rest of the company
and here's the best bit: they are 28% more
productive on average. What would it mean to you if your team could up
their output by 28% and be a lot
happier? It would be more significant than assembling a kit car in your garage,
am I right?
Which brings us back to the Mercedes engine.
It's still there on the block waiting to be finished. You can buy new parts
from the store where the labels on the box have the one-word description you're
looking for. Or you can select parts that are a mission-perfect fit for that engine and intended to synch with
the whole.
The correct answer is fairly obvious.
But once you've finished making the kit car
and you go back to the office, how are you going to build your team: failed
hiring practices of the past or a proven science-based process?

About the Author: Ciaran was introduced to Method Teaming, OND's ground-breaking science for effective business team formation four years ago. Realizing that his marketing skills, honed at GE over 10 years, could help OND break out of their narrow client set (HPE, Big Four Consultancies) into the wider corporate world he was excited to become their world marketing head. He is based in London and can be reached at

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