A People-Centric Workplace

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People are important. Underlying everything is that foundational sentiment. Why? Nothing of value happens by accident or without people who create value through the work that they do.

A skilled workforce must be established, that is trained and competent to execute each of the business processes in a compliant, effective, and efficient manner is also required to drive the performance of the business. Extraordinary results can only be consistently achieved with the optimal performance of good people executing good work process.

A skilled workforce must also have operational support:

 Work process is established for people to execute. Shouldn’t someone ensure that that standard work process is well established (defined | documented | implemented), in support of enabling the success of the people who will be hired to do that work, well? This paradigm was best stated as follows:

“We get brilliant results from average people managing brilliant processes… While our competitors get average or worse results from brilliant people who manage broken processes”

                                                                                 - Fujio Cho, Chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation

Modern technology is essential to deploy in support of the skilled, trained, and competent people who carry out their assigned role(s) within the operations of the business. A people-centric workforce utilizes modern technology to make workplace tasks less complex, enabling work to be conducted in effectively efficient manner.

Operational management in execution in a people-centric workplace is essential, utilizing technology that is deployed with a data & analytics strategy to support crucial decisions.

A business is essentially a machine that is expected to profitably generate revenue from the products and/or services that are delivered to satisfy a market demand.

Market demand must be supported by the operational capacity of the business to efficiently deliver products and/or services.

Operational performance management ensures that demand generation efforts (RevOps) are aligned with the capability of the business to manage (BizOps) for the capacity to create (MfgOps) and deliver the products and/or services that are marketed:

Operational performance management requires management control over all aspects of the business operations.

Success in business is achieved with a skilled workforce, that has been trained and proven to be competent to efficiently execute the carefully established business processes, that were thoughtfully developed to be effective in creating the results that matter to the business… If executed in a compliant manner.

“Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”  - Peter Drucker

A Skilled Workforce in a People-Centric Workplace

People are the most important piece of the ‘puzzle’ at every stage of successful business operations. However, the workforce challenges that a company faces at various stages throughout the lifecycle of the business are each different and challenging in their own way.

Early-stage business entities focus on their capability of becoming effective in achieving results that matter to the business and becoming viable within their target market.

Mid-stage business entities focus on their capacity for operational growth, with efficiency for profitability in mind.

Mature business entities are focused upon becoming effectively efficient in sustaining in operational growth.

Jeopardized businesses face a threat that requires immediate operational remediation and/or turnaround.

The timeline for each of these business lifecycle stages occurs at a pace established by leaders.

“Strategy is a commodity; execution is an art.”  - Peter Drucker

There always exists a conundrum as business founders must eventually navigate between a business model that is initially focused on innovation market viability to a business model that has been operationalized to profitability sustain itself and then again to sustain ongoing and profitable growth as the company grows and matures. A people-centric strategy that considers each of these stages in the lifecycle of a business is necessary for success and excellence in efficiently effective operational execution to ensure maximum profitability:

Gross Profit = Sales Revenue – Operational Expense (cost of operations) 

As a company seeks to mature operationally, it must possess an operational strategy that will further enable effective business operations, with more emphasis on efficient operational execution. Leaders must strategically manage their growing business operations with the intent of enabling sustained profitability of the business as market growth brings new levels of operational complexity. Operational capability and capacity must be responsibly developed and managed to ensure ongoing operations are effectively efficient as the business scales.

Consideration of a such a multi-stage operational strategy rarely happens unless or until a business actually becomes viable. Even then, most leaders of early-stage business ‘start-ups’ don’t necessarily possess the same skill-sets as do the business leaders who have led mid-stage or even mature business entities. People just differ in their passions and, as a result, the capabilities they have developed. Leaders included.

Business leaders must strategically consider workforce development at every stage of operational need. Workforce development is often overlooked (for obvious reasons) in early-stage business entities, however, it will soon become the the most crucial aspect of retaining and attracting talented people to skillfully execute the necessary work, and secure and sustain a state of effectively efficient operational excellence, for lasting market advantage for the business.

Early-stage companies win by not losing… Becoming established and profitable.

Early-stage companies only begin to succeed when they successfully introduce into the market a product and/or service upon which they can begin to earn revenue from. The goal of an early-stage company is to survive by becoming viable, with a foundationally functional business model. 

“It’s a multifaceted challenge beyond having a groundbreaking idea; it’s about transforming that idea into a sustainable and profitable product and company. This conundrum is about navigating the complexity of market demands, customer needs, revenue generation, and long-term value creation.” [1]   - Mats Bauer

First it is ‘who’, then the focus in on ‘what’.

First who, then what. Get the right people on the bus.” That is the paradigm that was developed in the book Good to Great.[2] Those who want to build great organizations are told to make sure they have the right people on the bus and the right people in the key seats before they figure out where to drive the bus. Paradigm: always think first about who and then about what. The Author of Good to Great believes that “When facing chaos and uncertainty, because you cannot possibly predict what's coming around the corner, your best ‘strategy’ is to have a busload of people who can adapt to and perform brilliantly no matter what comes next.”

That almost seems to be good advice early on as the company strives to become viable, until you realize that there will eventually be a significantly high operational cost of having a top-heavy direct/indirect labor pool, with a DL/IL ratio of 2.5 or less. 

Every employee of an early-stage ‘start-up’ must be focused upon an understanding that their actions, or any inaction, will absolutely affect the near-term viability of the business itself. Choose wisely, recognizing that a brilliant idea must eventually equate to profitable business success... And, that success begins or ends with the people you hire.

An early-stage business model must strictly involve creative and innovative people who are able to perform across multiple business disciplines and perform in many roles that are not yet operationally established. They must be able to ‘think and do’ as they go, to get the results that they need for the business to initially succeed in creating and delivering products and/or services to the market, just to become viable in that market.


It soon becomes imperative that the methods that were utilized to create and deliver the products and/or services that were initially provided for market viability are quantified and ‘captured’ for reproducibility, and profitable market growth for ongoing stakeholder satisfaction. This where work process and modern technology should be introduced into the operational strategy, for sustained and repeatable operational execution. Both of these topics will be additionally covered, herein, below.

Mid-stage companies lose by not learning how to win… Becoming profitable. 

Once business viability is established an important and strategic shift must occur. An updated business model must transition the company into a mode of talent acquisition and profitable market growth, replacing the original mission of viability.

Business operations that have been initially effective in successfully providing products and/or services to the market for business viability must now become both, effective in achieving results that matter to the business and efficient in operational execution, for profitability.

As the business grows in its market, the rising market demand must be met with a response in operational capacity to satisfy the new market demand, however, this cannot happen at any cost, as may have been the case previously when the business was seeking only to become viable.

This new stage of market growth requires a shift in operational strategy to ensure any new market demand is always supported by the operational capability to ensure the operational capacity of the business efficiently delivers the products and/or services required for the business growth.

The updated operational performance management strategy must now ensure that, going forward, demand generation efforts (RevOps) are aligned with the capability of the business to manage (BizOps) for the capacity to create (MfgOps) and deliver the products and/or services that are marketed.

Now it is ‘what’, before ‘who’.

Initially, the people who were the first employees of the early-stage ‘start-up’ were being focused upon an understanding that their actions, or any inaction, would absolutely affect the near-term viability of the business itself. It was all about them and their skills because there were no procedures or instructions to explain to them how to get the job done, in any role.

Now, however, it is imperative that a skilled, trained, and competent workforce is established to execute the work of the business, as planned, for results that matter to the business. People are important. The only problem is that “the work of the business” is still not properly defined and still resides in primarily in their head, in their notes, and/or in various computer files or records.

It is self-evident that a company can only ‘scale’ when its business processes are fully established (defined, documented, and implemented) to be capable of effectively and efficiently creating the results that matter to the success of the business through a skilled, trained, and competent workforce.

The pathway for a mid-stage business to succeed is established when the business leaders identify the individual business capabilities (‘what’) the business requires and develops those capabilities through the establishment of the associated and enabling business processes. Those business processes must be well designed, defined, proven to work, and implemented, such that they can be consistently executed by skilled, trained, and competent people to create the products and/or services that are to be delivered to the market, in volume. Establishing standardized work process will support and enable an ever-growing workforce to efficiently create effective results, in support of ensuring sustained and profitable market growth.

Mature companies continue to win by scaling… Remaining profitable as they grow. 

An operational system truly begins to mature 1) after the business leaders have established the standard work of the business, and 2) are functionally executing work processes with competent people who are deployed in numbers that satisfy the demand that is placed upon each business process within the operational system.

Management Responsibility

Performance for results that matter is enabled from the establishment of effective work process, efficiently executed by skilled, trained, and competent people.

Once this operational system has become established and functional, it must then be 3) measured such that it can be managed, and 4) improved with a focus on systemic operational constraint that must be addressed as a priority and to enable growth.

Management Control

The capability to predictably manage and improve operational ‘quality’ is essential for ongoing and scalable operational success. The ‘quality’ of the operational system of business processes must always be in a state of continual improvement. Continuous improvement efforts must be executed, in a technical manner, to ensure an improvement in results that are effectively efficient as an outcome. Lean Six Sigma methodology should be utilized within all continuous improvement efforts. There must be people within the workforce who specialize in these methods.

Lean Six Sigma methodology combines the efficiency of Lean strategy with the effectivity of Six Sigma strategy for a focused approach to continuous improvement that creates a high-quality outcome:

  • Lean methodology is all about eliminating waste and inefficiency during the production of products and/or services.
  • Six Sigma methodology is all about ensuring products and/or services to be effectivity created and accurate to their established design requirements.

Lean Six Sigma methodology addresses the variation and capability that is inherent in business and production processes.

Remediation for Management Control 

Management control for effectively efficient business operations is essential for success. 

Every business is uniquely different, yet still bound by the forces that make each business efficiently effective for operational profitability:

Effective Processes: A company, any company, only succeeds when it defines and develops the capability (or capabilities) that is necessary to be successful. This occurs through defining the work that must be done to create and deliver their product(s) and/or service(s). 

Efficient Execution: Skilled, trained, and competent people must execute that work in a manner that is efficient in creating the product(s) and/or service(s) on behalf of the business.

Effective Management: The capability of verifying that operational requirements are met, and operational objectives are consistently achieved. 

Efficient Management: The capability of managing the continual improvement of operational constraint that inhibits the performance and/or scalability of the business.

Remediation for Operational Purposes

Operational Excellence (OpEx) is a business strategy that aims to improve the overall performance of an organization. OpEx is best achieved when leaders provide a structured approach for translating a company’s strategic mission into a concrete tactical plan that enables the organizational capability to achieve the operational results that are required for success.

Remediation for Regulatory Purposes

Regulatory agencies have a mission to protect and promote public health by making sure that safe and effective devices and/or drugs are available. ‘Safety’ is defined as freedom from unacceptable risk. ‘Unacceptable risk’ exists when a device and/or drug is identified that poses “an unreasonable risk of substantial harm to the public health.” 

The ‘state of the art benefit’ of patient safety is a Risk Management concept. The ‘state of the art benefit’ of patient safety is established through a comparative understanding of post-market product ‘quality’ and is achieved when the overall residual risk experienced with the use of a specific product and/or service is in alignment with the level of ‘risk’ that is inherent with the use of competitively marketed products. Companies can achieve a high-level of ‘management control’ over product and/or service ‘quality’ to ensure the state-of-the-art benefit of patient safety:

  • Quality Planning – The process of identifying and defining the quality requirements that are relevant to the output and of a business process and how to verify them. PLAN
  • Quality Control – The act of locally verifying the output of a business process, executed as an element of process itself, in achieving a defined/desired outcome. DO
  • Quality Assurance – The act of systemically verifying that the processes, products and/or services met their specified requirements, in achieving a defined/desired outcome. CHECK
  • Quality Improvement – The purposeful change of a process to improve the confidence or reliability of the outcome. ACT


[1] Bauer, Mats. (2023). The Business Model Conundrum. Self-published; https://medium.com/next-big-thing/3-the-business-model-conundrum-33ee96689f58.

[2] Collins, J. (2001). Good to great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't. Random House Business Books.