In my first week of joining Support Driven full-time to head up operations, I sent feelers out to a couple of folks in COO and Director of Operations roles and asked, “What resources do you recommend for directing the operations of a small startup? Do you blog about your experience? I’m not finding a whole lot of books or online content on the subject.”
I got some great recommendations:
- Harvard Business Review‘s Second in Command: The Misunderstood Role of the Chief Operating Officer
- First Round Review‘s Make Operations Your Secret Weapon – Here’s How
- Financial Intelligence, Revised Edition: A Manager’s Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean.
Those helped me build a foundation of knowledge, and inspired me to erect the scaffolding of how I can be of service to Support Driven and how my role works in concert with Scott’s (Scott Tran is the owner and organizer of Support Driven).
But the resources themselves weren’t actionable. In addition to learning, I wanted to be able to do. I wanted to take action. I wanted an entry point into defining the way we work as a company. How do you start that? Where do you begin?
Luckily, there was another resource in there. I didn’t look at it at first. When I first joined Support Driven, I dove directly into helping organize Support Driven Expo, a conference for Customer Support Professionals, and the higher level operations work got back-burnered. But once we got Expo under control, the resource came up again, and this time I devoured it:
- Traction: Get A Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman.
I read the book in a few sittings, and using Traction, I created an agenda for the two days Scott and I had together in Portland after Expo ended. After meeting with a few folks from the Support Driven community to define our core values (more on this coming soon!), we sketched out the SD vision: our purpose, what makes us different, and our 10-year target, 3-year target, and third quarter goals.
What I love about Traction is that in addition to presenting high-level ideals for how to run a successful organization, it also provides the how: a sequence of steps for how to bring order and direction to an organization. We are implementing some of the ideas introduced in the book, and I’m excited to have concrete processes and a path to follow while we start organizing ourselves.
I’d love more resources to get additional perspectives and ideas about leading operations for an organization. If you’ve got any favorites, please share in the comments. Thank you!