In our Centered on Your Success blog series, get to know our experts and how they measure success for clients. In this installment, meet Kerry Daly.
What’s your story?
I graduated from The Ohio State University with a bachelor’s in Industrial and Systems Engineering. I have had a passion for healthcare since I was a child and received the opportunity to work at OhioHealth as an intern for over a year. That is when I decided this is what I wanted to do: helping make the healthcare experience better for people. This led me to accept a job with Andersen Consulting (Accenture, today), working in the Process and Healthcare practice.
I spent seven years focusing on process improvements within multiple hospitals and healthcare companies. Continuing my passion for process and healthcare, I moved to Cardinal Health, where I was brought in to improve the processes in IT. I became one of the first Lean Six Sigma Black Belts in the IT department in 2006. Then I moved into the business side of Cardinal doing process improvement projects in pharmaceutical, medical, mergers and acquisitions, finance, shared services, and customer service.
I joined Centric Consulting in January 2012 and became the Local Service Offering Lead for the Columbus office for the Operational Excellence practice. I have worked on many operational excellence projects through the years and now include account management in my scope of work.
How are you working to guide your clients to success right now?
In the world of operational excellence, it is about fostering a continuous improvement mindset with yourself and your clients. Understanding the drivers for wanting to make improvements is important. Are the clients looking to improve scalability, agility, reliability, predictability, visibility, profitability or stakeholder experience?
Often, our clients know they need to improve and why, but they are unsure how or where to maximize benefits. To achieve their goals, I work with my clients to understand the problem they have and by using tools like root cause problem solving to help them see the solutions that will fix the actual problem.
My favorite quote from Einstein is, “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.” I help them see their opportunities, prioritize them, and put together an execution roadmap to deliver and achieve the success they want.
What does the success of your clients mean to you?
Client success is taking the time to understand and listen to the pain of their customers and employees to help them achieve their goals. People have a natural tendency to take their own path to solve problems without engaging others or discounting an idea they think will never work. This can be a very hard habit to break with leadership and is not very motivating to the employees. Showing the value of listening to the people doing the work and empowering them to define and resolve the issue is one of the hardest parts of getting sustainable changes.
Success is when the break though happens, and the company makes improvements based on suggestions from those doing the work. The end result is improved employee satisfaction, increased retention since they see their opinions matter, increased customer satisfaction and increased productivity because they have a more efficient way to do their work.
What, in your opinion, do companies need the most help with right now?
Working remotely has its challenges with not only people and technology but also processes. Companies did not have well-documented processes and only realized these gaps when employees started working from home. Now that companies are supporting employees being fully back in the office, remote or hybrid, they are seeing additional waste in their processes and the need for streamlining processes.
The talent market is making it difficult to retain or find employees, which means many companies are operating with fewer resources but have the same or even increased workloads. These all affect customers’ and employees’ satisfaction. Companies have opportunities to automate repeatable processes, reduce waste and standardize processes that are not achieving the efficiencies they need to run their business. Clients need to find a balance between what worked before and what needs to happen to succeed now.
What do you think they should be thinking about next?
I believe many companies need to think about culture more. They have mastered video meetings for working remotely, but do they have a culture where employees feel connected? With fewer opportunities for people to interact with remote or hybrid workplaces, culture needs to be a priority, and employees need to have chances to connect with others. It will take time and effort, but there is value.
Generational differences make it difficult to accommodate everyone. Employees who feel connected at work will help them to be more engaged and happier. Culture is a factor when people consider leaving. When the culture is one of connectedness and support, and leadership sees it as a priority, it will differentiate one company from another.
As I interview people for Centric, every one of them asks me about the culture. I hear, “culture is very important to me” time and time again. Employees tend to move toward a company with good culture and support systems.
What are you looking forward to in your industry?
As companies look toward continued growth, there will be opportunities for creativity and innovation in the way they operate. Ideas that were too difficult to even try may not be so difficult anymore. I am looking forward to new tools or approaches that will take our Operational Excellence practice to the next level, so we can help clients achieve their goals faster while bringing the element of deeper thought leadership and design. We have started to see this with robotic process automations (RPAs) and how impactful they can be. I look forward to continuing to push the bar on what improvements are even possible.
What piece of career advice keeps you passionate and purposeful?
Do everything in your life “one day at a time.” There will be challenges in life that make pushing through to the end difficult – whether it is a challenging client, long hours or something in your personal life. Take it one day at a time, make a list, cross it off and give yourself those kudos. Everyone is human, and it is ok to be human. It will all get done, just one day at a time.
What do you do when you’re not guiding clients?
I am an empty nester now, so you will find me playing with my two Goldendoodles, enjoying Jeep rides and hanging out in the sun! My happy place is the beach, where the crashing of the waves can help you relax and lose your thoughts.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Columbus?
My favorite thing in Columbus is frequenting the delicious restaurant the city has to offer. I am a complete foodie! When my daughter was leaving for Arizona State, she made a list of all her favorite places, 14 of them to be exact. With only two weeks left, we hit 11 of them, leaving only the “it is ok if we skip that” ones. We got to spend time together, doing what we loved, and having fun with it. I also cannot leave out football – Go, Bucks!