Welcome to the official “coming-out party” of the new Operational Excellence Society. The past few years have been an interesting and exciting journey worthy of any adventure novel, except this one has been very real. As with every adventure, the path has been full of twists and turns. There have been many false starts and trials by fire – but also the discovery of golden nuggets. And, of course, there have been encounters with a variety of interesting and eclectic characters along the way; some inspiring, some conspiring, some eccentric, some brilliant, some with varying degrees of less than brilliant – and, most oftentimes, combinations thereof.
But now we are ready to “come-out” and let you know what we have been up-to for all this time. So, for all of you who have been wondering what the “Operational Excellence Society” is all about, and what it has to offer on a personal, professional, and organizational level – please read on…
Its mission is to be a “Think Tank” – a source and aggregator of knowledge, resources, and deployment aids for all the disciplines and dimensions of Operational Excellence, as we have defined it, namely;
“Operational Excellence is a state of readiness that is attained as the efforts throughout the organization reach a state of alignment for achieving its strategies; and where the corporate culture is committed to the continuous and deliberate improvement of company performance AND the circumstances of those who work there – to pursue Operational Excellence by DesignSM, and not by coincidence.”
– Joseph F Paris Jr; Founder, Operational Excellence Society
And to serve as a certifying body and accreditation organization for those companies who decide to embrace and leverage the Operational Excellence Enterprise Readiness® Model (OpEx-ERM) as the basis of their path to becoming a High-Performance Organization.
You can read a breakdown of this definition and the history of how this came to be in an article I wrote entitled “Operational Excellence Manifesto”.
Becoming a Member:
There are (presently) no fees or dues associated with becoming a member of the Operational Excellence Society (OpEx-Society). Of course, it would be imprudent of me to claim that this will always be the case, but it certainly is the way it is now and there are no plans or discussions to change this.
To demonstrate your membership, you can;
- Join the Operational Excellence Group on LinkedIn to engage in the dialog and/or
- Join the Operational Excellence Society Group on LinkedIn, which will be dedicated to meetings and events of the Operational Excellence Society and/or
- Register on the Operational Excellence Society website. Registered members of the website can contribute and engage in the dialog, whereas non-members can only observe.
Note: The LinkedIn Groups are “closed” groups. To join is simple, all you have to do is apply and you will be approved (provided you are applying as an “individual/private-person” and not with a profile that is that of a “company” name.
And, of course, you are encouraged to join and participate in all three…
Registered members will receive the monthly eNewsletter, “Operational Excellence by Design”, which is full of quality content and expert articles – never any “sales pitches”.
OpEx Society Chapters:
There are several Chapters of the Operational Excellence Society located around the world. These Chapters are “grass-root” efforts organized by local volunteers (and supported by the OpEx-Society infrastructure) that meet with varying degrees of frequency to share experiences (sometimes referred to as “group therapy”), learn the latest techniques and tools from industry researchers and practitioners, and professionally network.
As with being a member of the social media groups for the OpEx-Society, there are no “dues or fees” associated with being a member of a Chapter. However, each meeting may or may-not have a charge associated with the venue (premises, food and beverage) which may vary from meeting to meeting.
Body of Knowledge and Deployment Aids:
As a Think-Tank, the primary value-proposition of the OpEx-Society is in the development (and continued improvement and comprehensiveness) of a body-of-knowledge including;
- Library; A selection of reference books with classifications of levels and categorizations of topics.
- Body-of-Knowledge; Online content including articles, webinars, streaming audio and video, tools and techniques, methods, research, benchmarking, case-studies, etc…
- Deployment Aids; Tools, materials, and licenses for facilitating the OpEx endeavors of a company or an individual.
- Partner Network; Be a resource for professional referrals – industry experts – to help companies fill gaps (whether short-term or long-term) in their skill set requirements.
Education and Certifications;
The OpEx-Society has Education resources and Certification programs designed for the entire spectrum of people interested or involved in the various disciplines of OpEx; from the un-indoctrinated to the seasoned professional.
- Speaker Network; If you need a Keynote Speaker, an expert to deliver content on a particular subject, a conference chairperson or facilitator, or a panel moderator or expert panelist – contact the OpEx-Society. Our vast network of experts – who are authorities on all aspects of OpEx – can help you deliver the highest-quality event.
- Workshops; The OpEx-Society has a considerable library of high-intensity workshops in a variety of disciplines (and growing all the time). Exercises which are focused on a specific area or skillset in OpEx. Depending upon the workshop, the duration can be between ½-day to two days (or even more) and custom workshops to achieve a specific outcome are possible.Our experience has shown that maintaining the momentum in an OpEx Program when building capacity and capability within an organization – all the while attempting to maintain alignment and accountability with some tangible return-on-investment – is the biggest challenge companies’ face. That is why we deliver our education courses and certifications using a “Blended Learning Model” which conveys knowledge and know-how via a mixture of: online content delivery, live lectures and workshops delivered using the latest web-conferencing technologies, and face-to-face facilitation and mentorship. We accomplish this by leveraging the same technologies used by “Ivy-League” Universities in the deployment of their Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC’s) and the education programs of many of the cutting-edge high-tech firms in “Silicon Valley” to deliver our Curriculum, Courses, and Certifications.
- Curriculum and Courses; Courses covering a vast array of disciplines related to Operational Excellence.
- Certifications; Our Certification Programs are intense and, as such, require a considerable level-of-effort and commitment on the part of both the student and sponsoring company – with each student being required to complete a project to their company’s satisfaction in order to complete the program. Inquire for complete details as it’s too involved for this article. Certification opportunities include;
- Company Certifications; Designed for companies who wish to achieve an advanced state of readiness by embracing the Operational Excellence Enterprise Readiness Model (OpEx-ERM).
- Individual Certifications; Designed for strategists and practitioners who wish to hone their abilities in specific disciplines of Operational Excellence.
Advertising and Sponsorship Opportunities:
Of course, there is no such thing as a “free kitten”. The only way we are able to provide this content and drive this value to you, our constituents, is through the generosity of our sponsors and advertisers. With constituents from around the world and spanning all industry; a base of 45,000+(ish) and growing membership on LinkedIn, a distribution list of another 25,000+ for the monthly eNewsletter from around the world and across industries (plus the OpEx-Membership on LinkedIn), the reach of our content and the number impressions on every day of every month is considerable.
The opportunity for increasing awareness of your services, toolkits, books, conferences and events, publications, etc… is considerable. Advertising is available on;
- Website; A variety of different placements, sizes, and durations.
- eNewsletter; Advertising in the monthly eNewsletter is very limited and the space a premium. Not only will your advertisement appear on the initial running of the eNewsletter, but also in any reruns or reposts and it will remain on the archives and appear wherever he eNewsletter is replicated (social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, other websites and blogs).
- LinkedIn; Advertising in the weekly OpEx Group Announcements and Posts (which are shared with the personal networks of the OpEx-Society Leadership via “Updates”)
- Campaigns; In addition to the above, we can organize specialized campaigns to help you meet you marketing and awareness objectives.
Of course, the rate of evolution and roll-out over the next few months will be nearly super-sonic, with major updates and additions occurring on a daily basis – so come back often and watch us grow…
… Better yet, become a part of it!
For better or for worse, the “story” of the Operational Excellence Society can’t be told without telling the story of myself and my consulting firm, XONITEK – though I promise to keep this part extremely brief. For as long as I can remember I have always tried to figure out how things work and, more importantly, why they work the way they do. One of my early teachers in grade school taught me to “question everything”. Of all the personal “mantras” that I might have, this is the most pervasive and is the basis for my professional career.
I founded XONITEK in 1985. Its first incarnation was that of an information systems integrator. We assembled “IBM PC Clones”, engineered local area networks, and made all the bits and pieces work with one another. In the 1990’s, and wanting to increase the performance of companies, we became expert integrators of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. But in the early 2000’s, I became critical, even cynical, of technology. I felt that people in business were servicing the technology instead of the technology servicing the people – and saw the pains at which people would circumvent the systems just so they could do their jobs. As such, I reinvented XONITEK to focus on improving the interoperation of the organization, people, and processes; and today, XONITEK is an expert consultancy firm driving tangible and significant improvement to companies across industry and around the world.
In spring of 2008, I was at an Annual Conference of the Institute of Industrial Engineers (of which I have been a very active member for some time). One of the many discussions I was having with colleagues was about the frustrations in realizing the potential of process improvement and the apparent “disconnect” between corporate strategy and operational deployment (execution). Eventually, the discussion evolved to achieving “Operational Excellence” which was (then, roughly), the alignment of all energies expended in an organization towards the achievement of the organization’s strategies – including the alignment of the processes necessary to support the achievement.
Immediately upon my return from the conference and still pondering the discussion, I decided to create the Operational Excellence Group on LinkedIn just to see what sort of interest there might be in the subject and the nature of the dialog. I must admit, I didn’t really pay too much attention to it (certainly not like I do today). But I would go to it every couple of days and “approve” the applicants. It wasn’t until the group grew to 5,000 members (and LinkedIn asked that I request permission to grow beyond), and then again at 10,000 members, that I started paying attention. “Who ARE these people and what are they thinking and discussing?”
What I discovered was rather interesting. It appeared that the challenges that people and their companies face are nearly universal – but the manner in which they approach these challenges vary tremendously by the geography (where they were raised, or where their company was located) and position they held (strategist versus tactician). This was truly fascinating.
With my travels taking me to several specific cities quite regularly, I decided to “take the conversation from cyberspace and make it face-to-face” – organizing networking meetings under the banner of the “Operational Excellence Society” whenever I traveled to a city that I was to frequent. The experiences reinforced my beliefs and helped to mature my idea of what Operational Excellence is all about; it’s not just about the company, or the people, or the process – it’s about all of it and more, in the context of where the action is happening, especially the culture.
And this is why so many “mergers” and “expansions” fail (or fail to realize what was expected); the conflict between cultures (whether corporate culture, or the culture of a people). What I learned was, you can’t reasonably expect to “cut and paste” something that works one place, under certain circumstances, into another. Far better to “replicate” – taking what works in one place and adapting it to the circumstance and context of another.
Eventually, some of these meetings in certain cities matured to a point where they were meeting on a regular basis without me – which is a good thing. Obviously, I can’t be everywhere at once (not to mention, run a business and have a family), nor am I a person of infinite financial resources. But, most importantly, the initiative had to mature beyond me because, let’s face it, if there is no real interest, then it’s a waste of effort. After all and as I have always said, “If a leader looks behind himself and doesn’t see anyone following, he is no longer a leader, he is just out for a walk.”
Our first “Summit Meeting” took place in late May of 2013 in Puerto Rico. One of the recurring requests from the Chapters, and echoed during the Summit, was the need for Content, Curriculum, and a path to being “Certified” in Operational Excellence. There was considerable debate as to the form and means of Certification; with the net result being Certification occurs at the Company Level (since a cornerstone of Operational Excellence is a company’s becoming a “high-performance organization”) and individuals being Certified for their level of proficiency in applying the concepts of Operational Excellence to their roles and responsibilities in their company.
Without boring you with the details (and there are a lot); We had to develop and formalize the Operational Excellence program model; then identify or develop, then integrate, the various bits and pieces of the model so that they became a cohesive system; then we had to develop a procedure for rolling it out at a company.
Fortunately, we had an internal case-study of a similar roll-out, a client of XONITEK’s. When we started with the client (a publicly-traded, multi-national) they had 25 people responsible for manufacturing excellence. And four years later, they had 3,500 people spread across their business units driving value in operational improvements. And although this program was infantile in scope and benefit as compared to the Operational Excellence Enterprise Readiness® Model, it did prove-out all of the technical, procedural, and human elements of the new program.
Indeed, the “pursuit of Operational Excellence” is damn hard work, and requires damn hard work.
… There are no shortcuts.
It’s not enough to have a “need”, everyone has a need…
… You have to have the “want” – and Do. The. Work.
But the rewards are worth the effort.
However, there are ways of making the journey easier. And that is what the Operational Excellence Society intends to do – help those on their Operational Excellence Journey – to be their “Sherpa”.
So, here we are, 18 months after that Summit Meeting that defined our future state – ready to be a resource to others and to help them “Do. The. Work.” In their pursuit of Operational Excellence.
How can we help you?
By Joseph F Paris Jr
Paris is the Founder and Chairman of the XONITEK Group of Companies; an international management consultancy firm specializing in all disciplines related to Operational Excellence, the continuous and deliberate improvement of company performance AND the circumstances of those who work there – to pursue “Operational Excellence by Design” and not by coincidence.
He is also the Founder of the Operational Excellence Society, with hundreds of members and several Chapters located around the world, as well as the Owner of the Operational Excellence Group on Linked-In, with over 40,000 members.
Connect with him on LinkedIn