An operating model is the operational design that makes it possible to deliver the business strategy. Operational design follows strategy, but the relationship also works the other way around, which means that ideas for operating model improvements can lead to changes in business strategy. This program is about the intersection of business strategy and operational design.
The operating model defines how the company will deliver the capabilities and financial outcomes required by the strategy. An operating model covers six elements making up the acronym POLISM:
Processes and activities – the work that needs to be done
Organization and people – the people doing the work and how they are organized
Locations, buildings and other assets – the places where the work is done and the equipment in those places needed to support the work
Information and other links – the IT (and other links) needed to support the work
Sourcing and partners – those outside the organization supporting the work
Management system – the planning and performance management of the work
Each element of the operating model needs to be designed to contribute to the success of the organization, and will have an impact on both the income statement and the balance sheet. This program will introduce tools and frameworks that help participants understand and communicate the existing operating model as well as challenge the status quo and design a target operating model.
Participants on the last two programs rated the value to them as individuals, as 8.7 out of a possible 10. The net promotor scores were 67% and 70%.
Content and Structure
Before the program you will receive pre-program reading and be asked to prepare a case study. This will help you focus your thinking on the topics of the program.
During the program you will discuss well-established tools and explore new and evolving frameworks.
The program covers the following topics:
The difference between a business model and an operating model
The design process, in particular how to turn a business strategy into design principles by clarifying capabilities
How to represent the operating model in diagrams or pictures
How to link operating models and financial outcomes
Tools for documenting business strategy in a way that is helpful for operating model design
Financial analysis tools, such as the Dupont Model, for linking operating model choices to financial outcomes
Tools for capturing the processes and activities of the organization
Tools for designing organization structures, decision rights and people models
Tools for linking IT to the operating model
Tools for analysing suppliers and designing supplier relationships
Sessions will involve input from the faculty, written case studies and examples drawn from the participants in the group and from PA Consulting’s experience. As well as building a useful toolkit, there will be a strong emphasis on discussing real-life situations and practical examples. One day is spent working through a case study using the tools, led by an executive from the business.
Your program tutors may facilitate a conference call after the residential phase so that the group can share experiences and continue learning together
New ideas will be shared with you on the Ashridge Operating Models blog and there are active discussions on this topic in the LinkedIn Group – Operating Models
You will become a member of the Ashridge Alumni network where you can continue your personal development and networking
Ongoing support and further learning opportunities are available with Ashridge Momentum
All Ashridge Open Programs are taught in English, find out
how we can help you to improve your English.
Feedback is provided here from six types of participants:
Transformation, Change and Lean Professionals
From Operations Professionals
“Worked examples bring the theory to life. Andrew and Mark were great course tutors.”
Steve Curry, Assistant Director of Operations, Health Board
“Ten out of ten”
Eric Sabates, General Manager, Imperial Tobacco
“This course had de-mystified the subject and will help me plan the future models.”
Paul Hill, Operations Services Director, Manheim
“My benefit came from applying actual business challenges to the models.”
Matthew Ward, Head of Funeral Operations, Central England Co-Operative Society
From Transformation, Change, Lean, etc. Professionals
“Excellent course - practical, thought provoking and useful.”
Adrian Twyning, Head of Business Transformation, British Gas
“Great course. It provided insights into my current organization.”
Devand Singh, Senior Business Change Manager, Cambridge Assessment
“Met my needs and expectations. Got great value from the other participants too.”
Charlotte Eimer, Programme Director, BBC
From HR Professionals
“I learned a lot. A very good use of two days." (Attended two day course).
Carol Madeley, Head of Business HR, Belron International
“Very good course. It will be even better in the three day version.”
Scott Schoenbrun, Talent and OD Director, SPX Corporation
“Will help me support the business managers I am working with.”
Head of Global HR Business Partnering, Consumer Goods
From IT Professionals
“Very good grounding. Presented numerous tools to develop an OM from scratch or transform an existing one.”
Nick Ouston, Management Information Manager, EDF
“Great course, I found it very challenging (in a good way).”
Oliver Dickie, Systems Process Specialist, Matthew Clark
From Strategy Professionals
“Good introduction for those working on target operating models.”
Assistant VP Strategy and M&A, Major UK Bank
"Well structured. Has helped me illustrate the operating impact of a new strategy."
Carlos Alpizar, Director Strategy, Questamoras
“A thoroughly well thought our course. Content provided the right level of tools and approaches to Operating Design.”
Merryn Horneman, Principle Management Consultant (PCubed)
“The course was very useful and gave me real world, practical tools that my clients in the public sector need, as they are changing to face future challenges to government.”
Brendan McCarron, Consultant, McCarron Heal Limited