Unlocking the unlimited potential of professionally crafted processes for your teams, departments, and organizations.
Universal Creative Solutions primary service is operations consulting. We work with nearly every department providing the breakdown, research, planning, and leadership necessary to optimize your business successfully. Our work helps organizations implement new strategies, improve existing ones, and unlock unlimited growth by providing the path to overcome any obstacles. No problem is too big or too small for our teams. We aim to be the best tool available to you, no matter where you are in the process of building your organization. Below is an overview of what operations consulting is and our unique type of consulting to help unlock your potential.
What is operations consulting?
Operations consulting is a consulting service engaged by organizations to solve specific obstacles in process or execution by theorizing, reporting, tracking, testing, and optimizing business practices in nearly any department. While operations consulting requires execution on the part of the organization, having an experienced professional provide the breakdown, resource allocation, and path to successful change makes all the difference. Operations consulting is a partnership, in some ways, since it may or may not be coupled with implementation consulting. Without implementation consulting, operations consulting focuses on guiding an organization or teams within on how to improve performance to reach a specific goal or overcome a barrier to success. Universal Creative Solutions provides all critical operations consulting services to become your all in one goal crushing partner. We work with you to enable rapid growth and long-term durability by solving operations challenges and implementing long-lasting growth-focused processes.
Strategy consulting provides the high-level view of a company's direction and positioning, which is useful during start-up or major overhauls and rebranding of a company. Implementation consulting provides the day to day support on specific projects or implementing outlined plans. In between that broad overview and hands-on consulting service is operations consulting, which provides the solutions to particular obstacles or projects affecting any department of the company. Operations consulting is one of the most engaged consulting types and continues to grow in popularity. Operations Consultants are contracted to guide the teams who are tackling a wide variety of challenges impacting efficiency, growth, and cohesion. Universal Creative Solutions has worked with individuals and groups from around the globe to solve the problems seemingly unachievable due to the existing workload on the organization. Whether you need a permanent solution or temporary support, Universal Creative Solutions will be there with a plan to lift the organization higher than previously possible.
Why You Need an Operations Consultant
No matter how well established your organization is, every company faces operational challenges at some point during their existence. Operations consultants aim to provide analysis, research, and a plan to solve significant issues in the organization's processes or execution. These, sometimes simple, solutions remove the barriers that hold a company back and unlock the answers to unlimited growth. Although an operations consultant is a significant investment, the return on that investment is nearly guaranteed to far exceed the cost. As long as you are willing to sustain the changes implemented, your company will benefit from the recommendations for years to come.
Imagine a situation where the economy or business isn't doing well, and the company needs to improve efficiencies just to stay afloat. An operations consultant will provide that pivotal outside of the box thinking that can optimize performance. It's not that your team couldn't figure out much of these improvements themselves, quite the contrary. Most often, current workloads or familiarity with existing processes prevent them from seeing or implementing required changes. We work seamlessly with your existing team by listening to their needs. There's nothing better than the "boots on the ground" to get the vital feedback needed for critical improvements. We then theorize and test the best practices and report on winning strategies that improve both the company and employees day to day lives.
Now imagine a time when the business is doing well. An operations consultant can still help the company by shoring up its defenses for a downturn. In this case, an operations consultant will create opportunities to find savings and plan departmental improvements to recession-proof your business. That way, you can continue the pattern of growth by getting ahead of the required changes while competitors are languishing behind, waiting to improve once something has already gone wrong.
No matter what phase or state your organization is in, operations consulting can benefit the team. Operations consultants provide pivotal guidance to break through the barriers your company faces. We help your teams achieve like never before.
Are you struggling to improve sales? An operations consultant can help by reviewing the sales pipeline, sales practices, and technology employed. They will likely find that unnecessary work, which can be handled by automation, is impeding the team. Additionally, each member of the sales team may be using different tactics. An operations consultant can help standardize and promote the sharing of successful sales tactics. Simultaneously, a consultant can bring in cutting edge technology and integrate necessary tools with the personal touch of a sales department for an excellent customer service experience. These changes are guaranteed to lift sales while simultaneously making it easier for your team to do their best work.
Are you facing an uphill battle to increase market share? An operations consultant can help by reviewing the marketing department's deployment of advertisements, tracking tools and processes, and create a feedback loop to get accurate data from the team. As the business or team leader, you must rely on data collected to make crucial decisions. Trying to gain market share without optimizing your marketing department's operations is like assuming you're guaranteed to win at a game of chance. Until you have the right tools in place, you hinder your ability to succeed. An operations consultant with experience in improving marketing departments is a crucial tool to have when you are planning company growth.
Do you have big company goals but a small team budget? An operations consultant can help review existing processes, research new technologies/automation, and plan the implementation of more successful processes. The new methods recommended should improve your team's ability to execute on even more than before. Instead of adding additional payroll to increase potential, take a small portion of that investment to hire an operations consultant to increase the capacity of your existing team permanently.
When you embrace the operational changes and couple that with today's technology, the result proves the value of operations consultants. Demand for operations consulting grows year over year because so many companies are seeing a positive return on investment. Never in history have we been able to do so much with so few or so little. However, taking advantage of this potential requires knowledgeable experts in researching, planning, implementing, and integrating a nearly infinite path of possibilities. Allow Universal Creative Solutions to organize and execute on the changes your organization needs so you can focus on the results and customer services so critical to your bottom line. Together, we can advance seamless improvements that improve your ability to maintain the business while you grow.
How Our Operations Consulting Helps Clients
Universal Creative Solutions brings over a decade of expertise in improving organizations across a variety of industries. We approach operations consulting differently. As much as process and traditional analysis are essential to improving operations, we also focus on breaking down the blockers and slow lanes which that process can create. We are laser-focused on your goals, and if you are open to truly working together, we can show you how to achieve them.
Your ability to achieve your goals is directly related to the resources available to you which are needed to succeed. Although this is a simple idea, the implications in an ever-changing world are at times insurmountable. That's because the required resources are not always easy to identify. We all understand simple resources, such as labor hours, time span, and investment. However, there are infinitely more aspects to consider in nearly every business decision. How will these changes affect the team (team cohesion - another type of resource)? Will they adapt to the change or push back? Will the current assets that the company built up still be useful after the necessary changes are implemented (foresight - another type of resource and an intangible one at that)?
Few leaders approach their goals from the basis of resources. They set impossible goals just to set them. While there's nothing wrong with shooting for the stars, it does have a massive impact on the team. Some leaders don't take into account the impact on the team, and it is the crucial mistake that will lose you talented, dedicated employees. If you under resource your attempts at achieving your goals, no team can accomplish them even if you hire an operations consultant.
More often then not, there isn't an intentional under-resourcing implemented. It's more likely that there isn't a clear vision of the actual resources required or an underestimation of the expected outcomes from the changes. When you hire Universal Creative Solutions, you receive a framework that outlines all requirements. That analysis will be followed up with thorough research on the total resources required to accomplish the goal as well as likely timelines. We plan out all aspects of the changes and requirements from the start so that you can reach your goals. However, that's not where we stop; here's our process for success.
Our Approach to Operations
Operations are always in a constant state of change to address the current state of the business, team, or a number of external and internal factors. That's why our process is based on a continuum that we call the 4 imPERAtives. The four imperatives are Planning, Enacting, Reviewing, and Adapting. However, not every solution we are hired for requires long term planning upfront. We often use a phased based roll out system to get things started more effectively than focusing all our energy in more detailed planning. It depends on what the client wants/needs. Certain situations call for immediate response/changes to keep things moving while we develop better solutions that can be implemented in the long term. How Universal Creative Solutions uses both a Phase-Based Rollout along with the 4 imPERAtives of Successful Change to help our clients succeed is briefly outlined below. For detailed information the 4 imPERAtives of Successful Change as well as when and how to implement a Phase-Based Rollout approach, please see their respective detail pages along with worksheets to help you get started.
The breakdown is the first step in any contract we take on. We discuss the details of the project with the leadership and any decision-makers. During this stage, we identify any issues or potential pitfalls that are likely to occur. Finally, we establish the goals or outcomes that would signify a successful change as well as detail KPIs and reporting metrics required. From there, we usually go into one of two project strategies; Phased-Based Rollout or the 4 imPERAtives of Successful Change, depending on what the project requires. Eventually, we will end up in the latter as we switch from immediate needs to long term continual progress through our flagship program.
To succeed in an ever-changing world, you must also be in a constant state of improvement. That's why our long term process detailed in the four imperatives is a circle. However, it's not as easy as creating a master plan and adjusting along the way. You have to dive deeper into the inner circles where it all begins. To truly succeed, there will be a series of growth periods in any process.
Additionally, operations contractors are often asked to come in when these systems or projects are already in progress. That means that we need to take into account the current state in comparison to the goals. When we review a project or goal that yet to be achieved, it's usually handled in several stages. We call that a Phased-Based rollout approach with the following stages - short term movement, midterm traction, and long term success.
This operational approach is most often employed when we are dealing with emergencies or on-going processes that don't allow for a full stop. We like to keep progress going while we are planning better solutions to operational challenges. We decide on which approach to take on a case by case basis with decision-makers ahead of time. Not all services call for this approach. Strategy Consulting is the focus on full planning ahead of time. With implementation consulting, the plan is already complete. Operations consulting includes this rollout approach most often, especially when contracted on its own because of the nature of work in progress when our services are engaged.
Phase 1 - Short Term Movement
During this phase, we usually breakdown barriers and processes that have been causing the progress to slow or stop. Removing some items that the management believes is necessary can be messy; however, it's useful to maintain momentum while the detailed plan is in development. Don't worry; we never sacrifice safety or compliance when deploying this phase. However, other things like reporting or "the way it was supposed to be" will likely be put on hold while we tackle the underlying challenges. While the team is busy making progress without cumbersome reporting or process in the way, we establish a clear plan that streamlines the workload. We also look at the best way to provide the necessary oversight to track KPIs. We're also likely to handle any in-depth research on tools or assets required to help support both the team and company.
Phase 2 - Midterm Traction
This phase is the rollout of any plans that are within reach of the current resources. While we would love to enact only the perfect long term strategies, the reality is often short of the requirements to expand directly into ideal long-term plans. This phase allows us to take advantage of the short term movement while organizing the basic structure and framework for success. During this stage, we work to integrate some of the assets required to increase the likelihood of long term success. This phase also includes improving oversight and setting KPIs to understand how the process is turning into results or what areas need further improvement. During the midterm phase, we review and adapt the plan for any final adjustments that allow for long-term success.
Phase 3 - Long Term Success
The long term phase usually takes the longest to enter and execute due to its focus on perfecting changes and processes in a way that allows for sustained improvements. During phase 3, we bring in any final resources required and open up the full change list. Even though the 4 imPERAtives continue in a constant loop, our primary goal is to enable your organization to track and enact your own improvements. We know we have succeeded when you no longer need us. Although we are happy to maintain our consulting partnership, we consider our work a failure if its continuation comes from requirement rather than a request.
The 4 imPERAtives of Successful Change
The 4 imPERAtives of Successful Change is the framework that Universal Creative Solutions uses to enable long term success for ourselves and our clients. We use this framework during our engagement as well as attempt to train the organization to use this natural structure on an ongoing basis. This process can be used on a macro or micro level and is visually presented in ever-changing concentric circles. The amount and degree of these constant improvements depend on the growth or reduction of the operations/department currently being reviewed.
Stage 1 - Plan
Using OKRs to identify the Objective desired as well as the key results that will indicate the objective has been achieved is a great place to start. We often use this framework when handling long term planning. However, it can also be a problem for the early phases of a project where speed and execution may be more vital than a truly thorough plan. The right approach will be determined before any work begins. This stage requires as many team members as possible, especially those who will be impacted by the change. However, there needs to be one individual in charge of this stage and likely one final decision-maker. Otherwise, planning can quickly get out of control with too much input.
During the planning stage, we run a breakdown of required resources, ID what is currently available as well as what needs to be acquired for success. We also outline how those resources should be allocated for the highest chance of success.
Finally, we outline the enact stage and how we will track results during rollout. During this phase, we take a hard look at the goals and make sure to set the priorities on the most important aspects within our control and resources available to gain the greatest success during this stage.
Stage 2 - Enact
Never wait for the perfect plan to come together unless you are certain there will be an issue with resources. There's nothing worse than a great plan that never sees any execution except one where the roadblocks are so visibly insurmountable and predictable. Leaders often underestimate the psychological effect that these roadblocks can have on a team and ultimately the project. It can cause a drop in trust in the leadership's ability to plan and achieve the organization's goals.
That being said, inaction is the only guarantee of failure. Therefore, if the plan is as well thought out as possible, and the resources seem to be allocated, move forward, and move fast. Some organizations get stuck in the planning stage, constantly adjusting plans before they have a chance to enact any of the plans. Others get stuck in the enact stage where their constant changes never give the process time to bear out or the team the time to review results.
This stage usually requires training for the team and a team or project leader who manages the new process. Additionally, if you want to allow your team to focus on their work and the team leader to manage the new process, you may want to consider adding one other individual strictly in charge of aggregating and reporting on KPIs. Measuring and reporting are vital aspects of improving the process. However, it can also impede the team engaged in implementing the new process. That's why it may be useful to assign an outside member to review and report appropriately.
Stage 3 - Review
During the planning and enact stages, the KPIs should have been defined and then tracked during the enact stage of the plan. After the process has been running for a while, and we have enough data to review, we begin the review stage. This stage also requires feedback from the team to truly understand how the change positively and negatively affected the outcomes.
Unfortunately, not everyone likes change so you if you haven't heard about it yet you're likely to get an earful at this stage. However, the team needs to understand that all adjustments are a give and take. The progress made should be a net positive for the organization or solution to the problem. However, that does occasionally mean a bit more work for specific individuals or at certain steps in the process. The leadership needs to be open and empathetic to these issues so that they know the impact on the team. However, they must also be strong enough to enforce these changes even if it doesn't benefit every member of the team.
Stage 4 - Adapt
Once you have received the feedback from the team and reviewed the data, a small group of decision-makers and the operations consultant should review all the information. The information should include the planned OKRs, flow charts, and anything created during the enact phase. This adapt phase is an important mixture of review and planning but isn't exclusive to either stage, which is why it requires a unique stage.
During the adapt stage, the information finalized during stage 3 is used to monitor the process and effect it had. The adapt team (or individual) reviews what aspects of the changes helped and which hindered the intended progress. Then they make a series of recommendations to improve the process during the next cycle.
The reason the adapt stage isn't the same as the planning phase is because both stages are likely to be lead by different individuals with specific skills. Skills such as analytics are vital for the adapt team while project management skills are better for the planning team. Even if the same team members are responsible for these phases, not all recommendations created during the adapt stage will necessarily make it into the enact stage. It's the project manager working with the enact lead who decide the next round of changes. We base the revisions on the team's capacity and the ability for additional adjustments. Additionally, the timeline of the project or any real-world feedback and vital resources are taken into account.