Asna has spent the last 15 years solving tough business problems, from her early days as a technical consultant and scrum master, to her more recent roles leading growth operations and acceleration practices at early stage tech services firms. Her ability to analyze problems, synthesize complex data into actionable insights and quickly develop solutions that drive competitive advantage have helped companies like Cigna, INFOR, TalkDesk and Envoy optimize processes and solutions.
The teams she supports have increased their automation and capacity through more effective utilization of existing assets, and by establishing interlocking procedures that improve team alignment while providing top tier client service. Her ability to improve data accuracy and transparency across teams has driven improved decision making, ultimately leading to increase profitability and new revenue streams. Based outside Orlando Florida, Asna enjoys spending time in or near the water with family and friends and taking advantage of all the live sporting events the Florida sunshine has to offer.
Why are you passionate about helping people-based businesses?
At the core of every business are people. If you focus on your people, you get better results. You naturally attract the right talent. You motivate people to perform and deliver exceptional results to customers. And the business thrives. I’m passionate about this cycle, and helping companies optimize the processes and solutions that make the employee journey a positive and fulfilling experience. Because people, more than ever before, are considering not only where they work, but why they work.
When companies are growing fast, alignment and prioritization can suffer. What can leaders do to increase cross-functional alignment without slowing down the business or becoming too bureaucratic? What is a common mistake you see people make?
Leaders need to provide their teams with a guiding “north star” that can help them prioritize their time and efforts. When everyone clearly understands what the organization is trying to achieve, they are equipped with the decision-making framework they need to say no to the things that do not deliver against those goals and move fast against the things that are important. This is why KPIs are so incredibly important, but setting them and communicating them once a year isn’t enough. I recommend that leaders ensure they’re continually clarifying and communicating the organization’s core goals, and empowering teams to deliver on them.
One of your superpowers is identifying and solving business process inefficiencies – from sales forecasting to services estimation to partner management. If you could pick one or two areas where services leaders should dig in to improve performance, where would you direct them?
It is critically important that services leaders evaluate the right set of metrics in order to drive strategy and execution. So often, services teams are told to “live” by a single metric – utilization. Teams become so concerned with meeting a utilization goal that the focus is purely on the number of hours worked, rather than the quality of the work or how profitable that work truly is for the company. By widening your lens to a broader set of metrics – for instance, measuring your margin on fixed bid projects to evaluate your effective bill rate and accuracy of your estimating model – you can better evaluate the quality and value of the hours delivered to your customers and for your business.
You’ve played a number of operational roles within companies, including the Chief of Staff (CoS) role. At what size does a role like this make sense, and why should service leaders consider a role like this?
When evaluating the need for a Chief of Staff (CoS) role, the answer is dependent on the problem you are trying to solve versus a specific point in time in an organization’s growth or an organization’s size. The CoS position should be put in place in order to drive efficiency across multiple areas, including decision making, information flow and time. The CoS should be able to support the creation and execution of a system that allows the leadership team to stay more focused while ensuring that day-to-day items are completed. The nature of this role is that its function can evolve day to day and even hour to hour – moving from implementer to strategic advisor to administrator, etc. to best serve the organization’s needs.