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What does a Director of Operational Excellence do in construction? I often get this question, and I’m telling you, there’s a fantastic answer that you’ll want to learn about in this blog post.

Why is this role so important? What are the main focuses of this role? And are there resources out there to help those in this role? These are the questions we’ll explore right now. Let’s begin by getting the general job description out of the way and then dive into some really important concepts. 

What Does a Director of Operational Excellence Do?

A Director of Operational Excellence sets the vision for department priorities, partners with leadership for long-term planning, acts in an advisory role, maintains an overall master program schedule, develops the annual report, recruits and onboards needed resources, leads quality and compliance programs, often oversees contract administration efforts, oversees budgets, creates and implements improvement efforts for the overall organization, streamlines communication, supports professional growth, and coaches and mentors direct reports. This is a comprehensive list you might find in any job search for this role. However, let’s dig deeper.

Operational Excellence: A Deeper Dive

To truly excel in this role, it’s essential to understand what operational excellence means. At its core, operational excellence is about delivering a product to the customer with the shortest overall duration, at the lowest overall project cost, with the highest amount of value and quality. As Niklas Modig explains in his book This is Lean, the goal is not to optimize departments in isolation but to create a flow-efficient organization.

Creating Flow Efficiency

A Director of Operational Excellence seeks to create flow from the inception of a project to its delivery to the customer. This involves reducing waste and adding maximum value. Instead of optimizing individual departments, the focus is on creating seamless processes that enhance overall efficiency.

Helpful Resources for Improving Operational Excellence

If you’re aspiring to become a Director of Operational Excellence, I highly recommend checking out the book This Is Lean. Additionally, Niklas Modig’s company, Hups, offers courses specifically on creating customer value and implementing operational excellence. These resources provide valuable insights and practical training for your role.

Importance of Business Knowledge

Directors of Operational Excellence must have a solid understanding of business principles. Familiarize yourself with the works of Jim Collins, Gino Wickman, Patrick Lencioni, and Dan Sullivan. Their books and concepts on leadership, team building, and business systems are crucial for creating flow efficiency within your organization.

Understanding the Product and Deliverables

It’s important to have a high-level understanding of the product and how it delivers value to the customer. Know what the customer wants and align your efforts to meet those needs. This understanding will guide all organizational efforts toward delivering customer value and achieving desired results.

Knowing the People in Your Organization

Connect with the people in your organization. Visit different departments and ask, “What would it take to create trust with you and partner with you?” Understanding the needs and perspectives of your team members will help you orchestrate efforts to create flow efficiency.

Analyzing the Flow of Your Business

Identify your flow unit – whether it’s a construction project, a manufacturing product, or another deliverable. Map out the process from customer request to delivery, identifying value-added and non-value-added activities. Eliminate unnecessary steps and streamline processes to reduce waste and improve efficiency.

Key Steps for Directors of Operational Excellence

  1. Coach the Leadership Team: Build a strong leadership team, create clarity, communicate that clarity, and reinforce it through human systems. An organization cannot be excellent without an excellent leadership team.
  2. Strategy Deployment: Develop a clear business strategy, including short-term and long-term goals. Ensure everyone in the organization knows their role in achieving these goals.
  3. Understand Available Activities and Resources: Be aware of the resources, education, and activities at your disposal. Connect these resources to customer value.
  4. Know Your Channels for Delivering Customer Value: Understand the customer experience from start to finish. Ensure that every interaction and process is remarkable, not just the end product.
  5. Maintain Alignment with Your Company’s Value Propositions: Regularly analyze whether your organization is delivering on its value propositions. Aim to create raving fans, not just satisfied customers.


As the Director of Operational Excellence, your role is to ensure that the value chain to the customer is unbroken and that value flows efficiently through the organization. This is what makes operations excellent and ensures customer satisfaction.

I hope this blog post has inspired you. If you’re looking for more detailed training, I will link you to resources, podcasts, and lists that will help you get started in a remarkable way in your role. Let’s continue to strive for excellence in our operational practices!

If you want to learn more we have:

-Takt Virtual Training: (Click here)
-Check out our Youtube channel for more info: (Click here) 
-Listen to the Elevate Construction podcast: (Click here) 
-Check out our training programs and certifications: (Click here)
-The Takt Book: (Click here)

Discover Jason’s Expertise:

Meet Jason Schroeder, the driving force behind Elevate Construction IST. As the company’s owner and principal consultant, he’s dedicated to taking construction to new heights. With a wealth of industry experience, he’s crafted the Field Engineer Boot Camp and Superintendent Boot Camp – intensive training programs engineered to cultivate top-tier leaders capable of steering their teams towards success. Jason’s vision? To expand his training initiatives across the nation, empowering construction firms to soar to unprecedented levels of excellence.

On we go!