Achieving Operational Excellence Through People: Delivering Superior Value to Customers, Employees, and Shareholders


NEW for 2018
This program is designed to help senior executives of service businesses—especially those responsible for HR, operations, and customer experience—create and implement an integrated set of strategies that delights customers and keeps them loyal; engages a workforce and helps them find meaning and dignity in their work; and drives high performance and revenue.

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Achieving Operational Excellence Through People: Delivering Superior Value to Customers, Employees, and Shareholders
Certificate Track: Technology, Operations, and Value Chain Management
Location: Cambridge, MA
Tuition: $3,700 (excluding accommodations)
Program Days (for ACE Credit) 2

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What makes a service business successful? The rule of thumb for many companies in industries like retail, hospitality, finance/banking, and health care has been to drive down wages and operating costs, creating a vicious cycle of disinvestment in search of higher profits.

Zeynep Ton, the faculty leader for this course, asked herself, what if the focus shifted

  • from lower labor costs to smarter investments
  • from offering infinite variety to creating products and services experiences that customers wanted to buy
  • from frontline managers who fight fires and execute someone else’s plans to frontline managers who develop their employees and improve company performance
  • from jobs that have high turnover to jobs that people want to keep…

Could organizations hit new standards of excellence and performance?

Grounded in Professor Ton’s research over many years and with multiple people-intensive companies, this program is designed to help leaders of service businesses create an organization that delivers superior value to customers, shareholders, and employees at the same time. Through a combination of assessments, recent interactive case studies, lectures, and videos, participants will learn about the key elements of operational excellence in services and how to adapt an integrated set of these strategies in their organization.

Participants (and a sample of their frontline employees and managers) can complete an assessment survey in advance of the program. The course content, combined with the data from the surveys, will help participants—especially those who attend as a team—identify key areas for improvement and provide guidance on next steps for their organizations.

The course leverages a systems perspective to frame discussions around key elements of operational excellence in services, including:

  • What excellence looks like for customers, employees, investors
  • Creating a capable and motivated workforce
  • Making operational choices that increase productivity and contribution of the workforce and that allow them to delight customers
  • Designing an operating system for continuous improvement A values system that emphasizes customers, employees, and continuous improvement

(This course was previously entitled The Good Jobs Strategy: Delivering Superior Value to Customers, Shareholders, and Employees.)

Harvard Business Review's BIG IDEA

Better pay and more opportunities. Your workers want those things. So should you.

Good Jobs Institute

Founded by MIT Professor Zeynep Ton, the nonprofit Good Jobs Institute was established to spread the Good Jobs Strategy in low-wage service industries. The aim is to help and learn from business leaders who want to improve the jobs and lives of their employees in a way that improves performance and competitiveness of their companies.


The Good Jobs Strategy: Why Good Jobs Are Good For Business
Understand how organizations can manage their operations so that both the employer and the employee win.

The Good Jobs Strategy

Consumers can help the economy not by just choosing to buy goods, but also by being selective in where they buy goods. In this blog post, Ton argues that bad jobs—such as many low-paying positions in retail—contribute to a bad economy. “The problem is not that there aren’t enough jobs; the problem is that too many jobs are simply bad jobs.”