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Sloan School of Management

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

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The Good Jobs Strategy: Why Good Jobs Are Good for Businesses with Zeynep Ton

Next dates

Jul 11—12
2 days
Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
USD 3900
USD 1950 per day


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.

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

Participants of this program will learn:

  • Key elements of outstanding service for customers and good jobs for employees
  • How to score their organization on the value it offers to its customers, employees, and investors
  • Common sources of mediocrity in organizations and how to overcome them
  • How customer focus, employee management, work design, and improvement systems work together to create operational excellence
  • How to create a capable and motivated workforce and set them up for success
  • A roadmap for implementing operational excellence in their organizations
  • The importance of a systems perspective that includes leadership, strategy, operations, and human resources for implementing operational excellence


DAY 1 Sample

  • 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM Course introduction. Costs and causes of mediocrity (video and interactive lecture)
  • 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Customer focus (case study #1)
  • 12:00 PM - 1: 00 PM Networking Lunch
  • 1:00 PM - 5: 00 PM Work design and frontline employee management (case study #2)

DAY 2 Sample

  • 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM Improvement system and the Good Jobs Strategy (case study #3)
  • 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Using the survey results to identify key areas for improvement in your organization
  • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Networking Lunch
  • 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Key steps for implementing the Good Jobs Strategy (interactive lecture)
  • 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM How to implement changes in your organization
  • 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Wrap up

Who should attend

This program has been developed for executives of businesses that have a frontline workforce that interacts with customers. This may include retail, hospitality, health care, distribution, call centers, and other similar businesses and industries. This program is geared to upper to senior level managers who are responsible for or make strong contributions to their companies' strategy, vision, and operational priorities.


Zeynep Ton is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Operations Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Ton is currently examining how organizations can design and manage their operations in a way that satisfies employees, customers, and investors simultaneously. Her earlier research focuse...


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