Operations Management Skills Required – For example, it is critical for business owners to ensure that all members of their organizations have skills such as critical thinking, time management, and effective communication to ensure day-to-day operations run smoothly and business goals are achieved.
Here’s a quick overview of why it’s important to improve your business skills and ten things you need to prioritize to get ahead in your career.
Operations Management Skills Required
A foundation in business can not only lead to more confidence in the workplace, but also open the door to a host of career opportunities. For those who have expanded their knowledge by taking the Harvard Business School course, this experience has led to results such as:
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If you want to achieve similar goals in your career, here are ten business skills you should develop.
A basic knowledge of economics can be valuable in any industry. In addition to a deep understanding of pricing strategies and market demand, studying economics can provide a set of tools for making key decisions in your company.
For Nicholas Grecco, a former CORe member who works as a teacher and health care administrator, the lessons learned in Economics for Managers helped his organization invest in solar energy.
“I knew that investing in solar energy was a good opportunity, but the concept of willingness to sell (WTS) helped me understand and explain why,” says Grecco. “Due to additional incentives from the city’s program and group purchasing power, electricity contractors were willing to sell solar energy systems at a much lower price than usual, thereby increasing our consumer surplus. By explaining WTS, I was able to convince the owner to continue with this project.”
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Research shows that more companies, including Microsoft, Uber and Blue Apron, are using analytics to drive growth and improve their services and operations.
According to LinkedIn, analytical thinking is one of the most in-demand skills in today’s job market. Knowing how to generalize from datasets, recognize trends, and test hypotheses can provide an analytical foundation for solving complex business problems and help you make informed decisions that will benefit your firm.
“Using data analytics is a very effective way to influence an organization,” says HBS professor Ian Hammond, who teaches the Business Analytics course. “If you can go to a meeting and other people have opinions, but you have data to support your arguments and recommendations, you will have influence.”
Accounting know-how can be useful for your career even if you are not into numbers. While this may seem like an intimidating topic, it is much more accessible than you might think.
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Concepts such as cash flow and profitability are useful in understanding your organization’s performance and potential, and the ability to read and interpret a balance sheet is critical to reporting financial results.
Pankaj Prashant, an engineer who took a CORe course, says the principles he learned in financial accounting courses helped him strengthen his engineering background and advance his career.
“I follow my company’s annual reports, and the accounting I’ve learned helps me understand where the business might go in the future,” Prashant says. “I also tracked several other companies for investment purposes and I realized that I could make more informed decisions with my better knowledge of company finances.”
Whether you are just starting out in your professional career or working at an executive level, it is important to be an effective negotiator. A report by the World Economic Forum named negotiation as one of the 10 essential skills needed to succeed in the future.
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Honing your bargaining skills can help not only provide value to your organization at the negotiating table, but also to yourself when you’re advocating for a higher starting salary or allowance.
There is no one size fits all approach to developing a successful negotiation strategy. The key, according to HBS professor Mike Wheeler, who teaches negotiation skills, is to be open to improvisation and plan to think as you go.
“However you think of yourself as a negotiator, most of the people you deal with probably have a different style, at least to some degree,” says Wheeler. “So to be successful, you have to be flexible. It means being flexible to use different skills depending on the situation and who you are dealing with.”
Strong managerial skills are inextricably linked to organizational performance. A Gallup study found that managers account for 70 percent of the difference in employee engagement, highlighting the need for companies to nurture leaders who improve team performance and morale.
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It is useful for both experienced and novice managers to know how to hold meetings and communicate organizational changes. It is equally important to be aware of the common mistakes that team leaders make.
In the case of Monica Higgins, Director of Communications, taking the Fundamentals of Management course was a way to broaden her management knowledge and develop a fresh perspective on her role.
“I understand better when I look at things through a wider lens, from different perspectives,” says Higgins. “I’ve always been a fan of asking thoughtful, teaching questions – as opposed to statements – and now I’m a big fan of being the devil’s advocate.”
Whether you are in a managerial position or not, leadership qualities are vital to success in the workplace. While some consider leadership and management to be the same thing, there are differences between the two. While management is focused on implementing processes, leadership is more focused on the people and vision that drive change.
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In addition to honing your management skills, leadership development can be beneficial in any profession. From staying calm during difficult times to developing your own leadership style, these skills will help you figure out how to bring your vision to life and prepare your team for success.
In any business environment, professionals rely on communication to coordinate efforts and achieve organizational goals. Ineffective communication or a complete lack of communication can lead to disaster.
Along with developing your skills, understanding and adapting to other people’s communication styles is a big contributor to success. Other key communication skills include active listening, empathy, and reading body language.
Emotional intelligence is another important business skill, and research shows it is a leading indicator of workplace performance. According to a study by TalentSmart, 90% of the best employees have a high level of emotional intelligence.
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Emotional intelligence is usually broken down into four concepts: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. In short, this skill refers to your ability to understand your own emotions and to recognize and influence the emotions of others.
Regardless of your industry or position, being aware of yourself and those around you can allow you to better control your interactions and achieve your goals effectively.
All professionals need strong decision-making skills to handle complex tasks in the workplace. For those specifically working in business or management, the need for such skills is even greater.
Determining how to allocate resources, which employees make up the team, and how to implement a new organizational initiative are all decisions that require careful consideration. With the growing number of tools and resources that can be used to collect data, managers can feed their processes with valuable information to make data-driven decisions and achieve better results.
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Whether you need ideas or advice on a specific task, or are preparing for a career change, the people who make up your professional network can be valuable resources.
To make the most of your network, be open to opportunities to get out of your comfort zone and build new relationships. Once you have a network, it’s important to maintain the relationships you’ve established and find new ways to expand your network of contacts.
If you are looking to advance your career, the value of business skills cannot be overestimated. In addition to hard skills (such as financial accounting and understanding economics), as your organization grows, you will need social skills (such as emotional intelligence and leadership).
Regardless of your industry, knowing the core business concepts can help you better understand your organization’s performance and acquire the tools you need to drive initiatives and make strategic decisions.
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Do you want to take your career to the next level? Explore our business fundamentals courses and download our free e-book on Career Development with Essential Business Skills to learn how expanding your knowledge can help you make an impact in your organization and be competitive in the job market.
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