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Ashridge Executive Education

Designing Operating Models

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Next dates

Sep 9—11
3 days
Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, UK
GBP 2950 ≈USD 3829
GBP 983 per day


This three-day program, run in conjunction with PA Consulting, gives you the tools to transform your business through higher margins, increased sales, or both.

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, for an organization as a whole, a business unit or a function.

The operating model defines how the organization 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 – the software applications and databases 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, communicate and challenge the existing operating model as well as challenge the status quo and design a target operating model. The operating model canvas is the core framework.

The program attracts managers from Strategy, Finance, HR, Transformation, Business Improvement, Lean, IT and Operations functions. It is relevant for any manager looking to improve performance by aligning strategy and operations. Participants on the last two programs rated the value to them as individuals at 9.1 and 9.4 out of a possible 10. The net promoter scores were 78% and 91%.

Participant outcomes

As a participant, you will:

  • Develop a high-level operating model for an organization or a department
  • Lead a project team working on a target operating model
  • Produce a visual representation of your organization’s operating model for debate with other executives
  • Contribute as a team member when reviewing project operations

Organizational outcomes

Using real-life situations, practical examples, and a day spent working through an executive-led case study, participants will leave with the ability to design better operations. As a result, your organization will have a closer connection between operations and strategy, enabling it to achieve its objectives faster, using fewer resources. Insights generated from analyzing operations could lead to an improvement in strategy

Who should attend

Managers involved in improving and transforming their operations, particularly if their work involves translating business or functional strategies into operating choices. Participants come from a range of functions, including Strategy, HR, IT, Transformation, Finance, Lean, Business Improvement, and Operations


Education MPP, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University BS, Chemical Engineering, Rice University BA, Economics, Rice University Positions Held At Haas since 2014 2014 – present, Executive Director, Energy Institute at Haas 2013 – 2014, Director, Regulatory Affairs & Business Anal...
Mikel Gutiérrez is CEO of Asebal, a company producing galvanized steel for road and solar businesses. He has lead it from being a domestic, almost bankrupt Spanish company to a strong business, selling in more than 20 countries. Previously he was General Manager of Ormazabal Germany and Director ...
I specialise in business design, helping organisations define, design and deliver the business and IT architecture to execute strategy. I co-lead PA's work on sustainability and circular economy, helping organisations define, design and deliver changes that lead to triple-bottom line success - pr...


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