Run vs. Change – Where is Your Focus?

Run vs. Change - Where is Your Focus?  With every year-end, comes the many rounds of corporate “post-mortems” and executive annual reviews on how the company did.  In addition, there is also a discussion on individual performance and individuals reaching or missing their annual performance goals. As that wave passes, and the holidays come and go, we enter into the new “hopeful” cycle.

The part of the cycle where individuals, personally and professionally, vow that this year, they will do something different. Better. Either they will eat better, go to the gym more, hang out with friends on a regular basis, or maybe finish that new Dan Brown novel that came out 3 years ago. On the professional side, managers vow to exceed expectations, grow the company’s value or maybe just not be so late to work.

However, when we discuss and plan out our next year, on a professional side, we have to look at some high level focus. Do we want to help run our company or help change our company? Neither is better or more right, but your role should not limit your focus.

By running the company, I don’t mean running it at a C-Suite level. I mean running the day-to-day operations, putting out fires and ensuring your staff are meeting SLAs and deadlines. And to change the organization? I don’t want you to picture drastic infrastructure or staffing changes. But when was the last time you stepped back and looked at your team’s processes? When was the last time you networked for the company to potentially gain new clients?

As managers and executives, we all have different personalities and interests. When planning out your new year, it is important to step back and see where your role falls – and if that’s where you want to be. Start thinking about work that will help change your organization and grow the company. Or maybe you need to focus more on properly running your team and managing your staff.

If you’re interesting in learning more about professional focus, please contact the Burnie Group about our Executive Leadership Diagnostic. We will work with you and your team over the year to understand your business and your focus, and ultimately what that means for your organization.

By: Andrew Martel, Senior Business Analyst

Run vs. Change - Where is Your Focus?


Investing in your staff: The value of coaching, training and cross-training

Investing in your staff: The value of coaching, training and cross-training  Most organizations have a mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviours to become effective organizational members, whether it be through an orientation, an on-boarding program, or perhaps even an online training program, when new staff joins an organization investment in training is high.

Big or small, most companies believe that having well-trained employees at the outset leads to increased throughput, better performance, and fewer mistakes; but what of the benefits of continuous improvement throughout a employee’s tenure? While studies suggest that investing in employees throughout their tenure combats turnover and ensures the employee’s continued improvement, many organizations feel that ongoing training is an exercise in futility, believing that the costs outweigh the benefits as employees are likely to move on.

However, training and cross-training is not only a way of improving an employee’s skill-set. Increased  training opportunities generate happier work environments—people want to work at organizations where they feel valued—employees are more likely to feel fulfilled by their roles, and more engaged in the company and it’s culture.

Training and cross-training is key not only for a rookie teammate, but also for the star employee with years of experience. Investment in your staff improves morale, increases retention, drives loyalty and boosts the reputation of your organization.

There also also undeniable financial gains to be had by investing in your staff, namely employee productivity and output increases as cross-trained employees ensure fewer lags in productivity felt by sick/vacation days.

How you invest in your employees’ development is up to you, but it’s important that you have an investment strategy that keeps them engaged. Investing in your staff is just the beginning in breaking down silos and creating a more dynamic and engaged workforce. With over two decades of experience in helping companies evolve through investing in staff, the Burnie Group’s Operations Excellence program provides a breadth of data and tools to help team leaders better manage their team and develop their staff.

By: Andrew Martel, Business Analyst

Investing in your staff: The value of coaching, training and cross-training


3 steps to employee engagement*


3 steps to employee engagement*  A recent Deloitte study found that 79% of businesses are seriously worried about employee engagement and retention (ranking #2 in issues of concern). It’s not news that if your employees love their work and the environment you have created, they will treat customers better, innovate, and continuously improve your business.

So how do you create or maintain a meaningful, fulfilling work environment for your employees?

1. Hold managers accountable for employee engagement

You can feel a good culture when you walk into a room. The same goes for when there’s a culture problem. Managers should be able to feel it, and leaders need to hold managers accountable for addressing the problems.

Managers need to teach and communicate. They need to take ownership of how their people feel and be accountable and responsive to negative feelings or general apathy. When managers build healthy, collaborative relationships with staff, they create the transparency and authenticity that employees crave.

2.Implement and monitor employee engagement results

Employee engagement happens on a day-to-day basis. It is not a quarterly touchpoint that is only addressed in a formal review process.

Great companies have managers who look at engagement as a real-time metric. Great managers are aware of their employees’ behaviours, reactions, and concerns.

3.Build a brand that people can believe in

We default to Simon Sinek here, “Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them. People are either motivated or they are not. Unless you give motivated people something to believe in, something bigger than their job to work toward, they will motivate themselves to find a new job and you’ll be stuck with whoever’s left.”

This is what a brand is. It’s not the product, it’s the lifestyle you can have if you buy into the product. Apple is a great example of this line of thinking. When your employees believe in what you do, when they buy into your brand, their passion, their attitude, their work ethic and engagement can bolster your brand significantly. Passion is a great motivator.


It’s important to remember that healthy, happy, focused people are not only happier, but they also make better decisions, become better leaders, and drive greater value for their organizations.


*adapted from a panel discussion hosted by Tom Gimbel of LaSalle Network

3 steps to employee engagement*


How much “Excellence” is in your operation?

How much "Excellence" is in your operation?  In today’s fast paced world organizations are challenged with doing more with less. More throughput, higher customer satisfaction, faster to market, and an overall lower unit cost. Managing these pressures can often result in over-taxed employees who may be under-engaged.

If you want to engage employees and drive significant change in a sustainable fashion, you need to provide purpose and direction. Daily goals, effective change management, coaching and feedback training, ensure employees can connect with the task at hand. The Burnie Group’s Operations Excellence program does just that in less than 3 months. Through technology-driven efficiencies and improvements to operational processes, your employees will not only benefit from greater clarity and alignment across the business, but you will begin delivering your desired results with greater velocity and increased profitability year over year.

The Burnie Group believes that by transforming your back office operations through data-driven insights and increasing employee engagement, efficiency is increased, strain is decreased, and customer requirements are met.

With over 25 years of experience in employee performance improvement, The Burnie Group is your destination for Operations Excellence. Our clients include top 5 Canadian banks, leading insurance companies and pension funds.

We guarantee a dramatic advancement in employee effectiveness and engagement. Our clients typically realize operational savings of 20% or more within the first twelve months of our program. Let us help you transform your business.

Learn more about the Burnie Group’s Operations Excellence Program, click here.

How much "Excellence" is in your operation?


INFOGRAPHIC: The Operations Management Journey

Going from start to finish is never a straight line process. The journey for many companies is fraught with ups and downs, and often no clear path. The Burnie Group’s approach to Operations is to comprehensively tackle each stage of the journey before moving on to the next. With the right technology, the right tools, and proven services we build a solid foundation on which our clients can support growth and development.

The individual strategic objectives and challenges that companies experience can vary significantly when tackling the process of Operations Management, but the initial steps in facing this change do not. This is because every pursuit of Operational Excellence—optimizing people, process, and product—first requires the holistic adoption of a change management strategy, including any needed cultural adjustments fostering increased collaboration across departments within a business.

Focusing on the customers’ needs, keeping the employees positive and empowered, and continually improving the current activities in the workplace is the ultimate goal of the operations journey. While each stop along the way serves a purpose towards efficiency, combined they ensure that your organization can be innovative and collaborative, you can attract and retain top talent, and finally, acquire and keep the customers you want.

Learn more about each stop on the Operations Management Journey by downloading our infographic below (click image to download):


INFOGRAPHIC: The Operations Management Journey

The Burnie Group helps clients improve their businesses through innovative strategy and the continuous pursuit of operations excellence. We apply rigorous analysis, world-class technology and top-tier expertise to invigorate your business. As you look to embark on the operations journey, let The Burnie Group be your guide.

INFOGRAPHIC: The Operations Management Journey


The 5 stages of grief *ahem* change

Do your employees feel like changes are done “for” them or “to” them?

Most organizations are in a constant state of change. Whether it be to their organizational structure, processes, programs or technology, evolution in the workplace has become inevitable.

To experience successful change management you need both technical and cultural results – technically, new efficiencies or functionalities are achieved from the new structure, technology or processes, while culturally, employees have to transform in order to ensure adaptation and utilization of the new technology or processes and increased cost savings.

However, for employees, these stages of change. As the change process progresses, employees find themselves on an emotional rollercoaster as they cycle through a series of stages from initial awareness to either acceptance and commitment or withdrawal.

In order to accept their new reality and contribute to making organizational change successful, people need to understand how these changes will benefit them. Not everyone will fall in line just because the change is necessary and will benefit the organization. This is a common assumption and pitfall that should be avoided.

Knowing and expecting resistance to change, and planning for it from the start will allow you to effectively manage any hurdles you might encounter and ensure a smooth transition. In the infographic below we outline the five stages of change encountered at most organizations.


The 5 stages of grief *ahem* change

At The Burnie Group, the combination of our proven methodology, tools and technology will ensure efficient execution of your change management strategy. Our programs deliver measurable results, including reductions in operating costs, improvements in employee engagement and growth in top-line revenue.

The 5 stages of grief *ahem* change


A time management strategy that works!

A time management strategy that works!

Do you struggle with time management? Do you have more to do in a day than you do hours to do them? Are you on the go from when you wake up to when that you crash back into bed at night? Do you often wish you had more time in the day?

Organizations routinely squander their most precious and finite resource – their executives’ time. Time management is not just a personal-productivity issue over which you and your company have no control; it is an organizational issue whose root causes are embedded in corporate structure and culture. Executive time is often viewed as limitless, with all good opportunities treated as a high priority regardless of capacity to effectively drive them forward. And having more time doesn’t always mean getting more done, and it doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the right things done either. As it goes, the less time you have, the more you need effective time management.

Winston Churchill famously stated, “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.

At The Burnie Group, we’ve learned that the secret to effective time management isn’t a life hack, it’s knowing where you’re spending your time, identifying opportunities and prioritizing planning. Successful executives are very careful about how they spend their time. No matter how you slice it, we all have 24 hours in a day, so the key lies in learning to use our time wisely.

The Burnie Group’s data-driven insights we help you create time budgets, and formalize the process of allocating time. By tackling this problem systematically, we ensure that skills and resources are being leveraged most effectively, to drive your organization’s strategic goals. Stop wasting your valuable time – make effective time management a top priority.

Learn more about the Burnie Group’s Executive Time Management Diagnostics service, click here.

A time management strategy that works!


Understand your end-to-end operations

Understand your end-to-end operations

As organizations grow and evolve, they often try to rejuvenate and optimize operations by creating or redesigning business processes. However, in spite of good intentions and hefty investments, efforts to optimize operations can often be slow to progress and make few tangible changes. All change projects are tough to pull off, but process-based change is particularly tricky. Without fully understanding your end-to-end operations, re-defining processes can become an arduous and harrowing endeavour.

Executives often flounder when taking on the task of defining or re-defining processes, realizing that change needs to happen, but being unsure about what exactly needs to be changed, by how much, and when. This uncertainty manifests itself in hesitant decisions, confused planning, and unproductive discussions. Traditional process mapping is often slow and resource-consuming. Faced with these shortcomings, it can be challenging to gain the forward momentum necessary to grow and evolve as a business in today’s fast-paced, competitive marketplace.

We know from over two decades of operations diagnostics experience that it takes an in-depth understanding of your existing processes, their strengths and inefficiencies, and the strategies that will best improve your end-to-end operations to implement change and begin to see benefits. This is why the Burnie Group’s turnkey Automated Process Diagnostic program provides comprehensive insights into your organization’s operational processes – insights based on hard data. In only 5-6 weeks, you will have a detailed roadmap in hand, your organization will begin to realize tangible results, and be best positioned for success.

Learn more about the Burnie Group’s Automated Process Diagnostics service, click here.

Understand your end-to-end operations