Operations Advice for a CEO

In this episode of the Cerius Business Today podcast focusing on advice for the CEO we are joined by James Stewart. He has spent a majority of his career in a Fortune 500 company, where he worked his way up from being an engineer to a Business Unit Manager. After leaving, James decided be become an Interim Executive and set-up his own independent practice working with CEOs to improve operations.

He shared his views on how the slow way is often the faster way:

I think one of the first pieces of advice to a CEO, and it seems kind of obvious, but it was really an aggravating factor in a particular situation, was the amount of initiatives the company was trying to accomplish all at once. They had a primary manufacturing facility that was undergoing some very serious production issues at the same time they were rolling out and changing their executive staff as well as integrating a recently acquired company.  They had purchased another company on the east coast as they were working to purchase other companies around the world. They were also trying to implement an ERP initiative and bring all of the entities on-board with it. And that’s just a too many things for an organization their size to execute. I think it was very difficult to adequately progress on all of those.

Stepping back – is it realistic to be doing all of these things? Or should these be sequenced in an order? For example, get this part done before starting the next one. Take a little bit longer but have a higher degree of execution and desired results. Sometimes the slow way is the fast way and in this particular case, I think the company tried to go very fast on quite a few topics and it was difficult to get them all done. Schedules start to slip on initiatives. They started to unfolded and that’s just the reality of having too many things on your plate. You might not be able to get it all done.

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