The other day I was in a juice shop contemplating the various boosts I could add to my beverage. Things like whey protein that were going to make me more energetic, intelligent, witty, able to do complicated yoga poses, more radiant and, if I’m not mistaken, even able to explain the “new math” to my kids. It got me thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if we could get these kinds of boosts in our day to day operations work?.
Some aspects of operations work can be predictable, like monthly financials or office supply orders. Others only come along once in a while. Even with the predictable, routine stuff, there’s benefit in finding ways to do it better. These may be ways to inject a jolt of energy, like the boosts you add to your fruit smoothie. They can be ways to lift you up so you can see more clearly, like when someone boosts you up so you can reach the top of the wall, where you can see the action on the field. For those of you who grew up with Pokemon cards or, like me, have kids in your life who are obsessed with them, these can be like the booster packs that add strength to your deck.
Some of the boosts will be pretty simple. Some may be things you’ve heard of before and perhaps even tried. I make no claims of being a trend setter. I’m not the type to be up on the trendiest books and I’m usually at least a season behind on Netflix. When I excitedly told a colleague this week that I’d just finished reading Checklist Manifesto, her response was, “Oh, really, again?” “Uh, no, for the first time,” I admitted. I’m usually a couple years too late to be considered on the cutting edge. But, I have collected a number of operations boosts over the years, and I’m going to share them here on Wizard of Ops. They’re things my team and I have tested and found to be helpful. They will all be things that you can do for free (or mostly free). These will be quick tips you can use to supercharge your work or to view it with fresh eyes. Another definition of boost, of course, is to steal. In the nonprofit sector, we’re good at shamelessly stealing good ideas from each other. If you’ve tried them and they worked (or didn’t) this is a place to share that.
Keep an eye out for the first Ops Boost early next week. In the meantime, you’ll have to make do with your shot of wheatgrass or zinc. I’ll post them here, at least until I run out. I’m always on the lookout for new boosts, so I hope you’ll share yours with me as well.