Not all heroes wear capes. Sometimes, they work in Operations. Without folks keeping the trains on track, the customer experience would crumble. In her time at Stryx, Elizabeth Ng Clock has seen this firsthand. In this conversation, we unpack timeless frameworks that anyone can integrate into their work.
- Build the plane as you go
- Be intentional with spend
- One-way and two-way doors
- Start documenting processes yesterday
- Anyone can do a job well
- Who makes a good Operations Manager?
- Check out Stryx
- Follow Elizabeth Ng Glock on LinkedIn
- Check out Rodeo
- Connect with Ben Fisher on LinkedIn or Twitter
Build the plane as you go
Action beats inaction any day of the week.
“It's a lot of inventory management and we can definitely go through that. And being, you have to sit down and figure it out, and you have to be able to pull the plug and saying, this is the way we should go. You have to do it. You'll figure it out. If you fail, you'll learn from those mistakes and go on. That's probably the biggest lesson in learning that I've taken away from this position is at some point you can't keep talking about it. You can't keep strategies, what's ifs, buts and all of that you have to like, all right, I'm trying this. We'll figure it out along the way and go with it. And also keep yourself honest that if it isn't working out, change direction quick. Being able to be flexible.”
Be intentional with spend
Make the most of your budget and procurement processes.
“Because we are a startup, and I always think, how do you do this with the least amount of cash possible? And for that of thought process of you're on a budget, you wanna be conservative. I wish, going forward I would take the leap of maybe signing up for certain softwares or apps sooner rather than thinking let me manage it super manually until I get to a point where I feel that's unscalable. And I should find an app or a software to help manage that. I wish I'd done that maybe a little bit sooner.”
One-way and two-way doors
It’s hard, but sometimes necessary, to kill your darlings.
“Anything irreversible is product-based. Packaging, getting your product set up, that costs money, and overhead. Assuming your product's all good and that part's figured out, I don't think anything is irreversible, which is the nice safety net of "you have to pull the plug and give it a try". It's gonna cost you time and money. Moving all your inventory from one through 3PL to another is a pain, but it's doable. A lot of people do it and it's not the end of the world. When you move a house, it sucks and it's a pain and it's gonna cost them money and time, but people move all the time.”
Start documenting processes yesterday
Find ways to remove yourself as a constraint and scale.
“Record your steps, the procedures, and why. In the motto of " if you get hit by a bus today", can someone pick it up and at least do the tactical steps? Once we get bigger, I need to turn them more into SOPs and all of that. Half of that's already done. A lot of it is recording those tactical steps.”
Anyone can do a job well
Don’t let biases cloud what talented candidates can do.
“Anyone who's ahead of growth, they should be able to grow anything for me that was an old merchant saying that if you're a good merchant or good buyer, you can merchant and buy anything. It doesn't matter if you are a woman in women's clothing, you're a man in women's clothing, you're a woman in men's clothing or whatever it may be. You don't play sports or anything that. But if you know how to do your job or how to problem solve or what you're solving for, you can definitely do it.”
Who makes a good Operations Manager?
Find people who care about your customers — teach them the rest.
“People who are customer-centric, that's someone I would look for. I'd rather have someone who has a few big clients and that are in deep in high touch points versus low touch. They're intimately-involved with their book of business, whether they have three or four clients, they're super intimately involved. That means they're good at problem-solving as a partnership. When you think about operations and logistics, everything ties back to "how is this getting to the customer and is the customer gonna have a great experience?" That's someone I look for; problem-solving, customer-centric, high-touch from a customer support account management standpoint.”