Senior Director Of Operations

at 
SparkMeter
Posted on 
23 Nov
JOB CATEGORY

This is a new position at SparkMeter and will report to the COO. The Senior Director of Operations at SparkMeter is accountable for continuing the maturation of three specific functions within SparkMeter. Those functions are Customer Support, Supply Chain / Production, Compliance/Strategic Project Management/S&OP. We are looking for a highly experienced energetic cross functional operations leader to provide uplifting and value adding guidance and visioning to the leaders of each of these departments as well as the entire team.

This role is a senior leadership role that would be 80% enabling and 20% architecting. The enabling leadership will be delivered by providing solutions to the operations teams needs by offering ideas, perspective, tools, training, coaching, problem solving all drawn from experience. The goal is to help the Compliance/Strategic Project Management, Supply Chain/Production and Customer Support leaders keep the pace of change and are successful in the areas of delivery by closely integrating with their daily work and helping them overcome challenges. This person will also work to envision how these functions integrate to produce cross functional results.

The Senior Director of Operations will also take over as the face of SparkMeter on interactions with customers when customer issues require senior leader intervention and resolution. The COO will still be available if further escalation is required.

Occasionally the Senior Director of Operations will also need to play a lead role in organizing, sustaining or simply making sure things are working correctly in various projects. These may be short projects or longer term lasting from a week to a year.
This will enable the COO to spend more time collaborating and architecting with the C team, hire the Quality leader and help the Production Engineering leader.

Success for the Senior Director of Operations will be measured in the successful functioning of the operations team.

SparkMeter is a rapidly growing organization with employees distributed across 3 continents (Africa, Europe & America) with the majority of staff being in the eastern time zone USA and Kenya. Our two offices are in Washington, DC and Nairobi Kenya. Roughly 30% of our staff is fully remote - and since the COVID-19 outbreak, upwards of 90% of our team interactions happen remotely. We’re tremendously proud of the people centric culture we have created and it shows in our median tenure of employees being around 3 years, for a 9 year old company

You will be responsible for:
- Developing team members from great potential to great leaders. Develop your own replacements- so that you can replace me!
- Create a culture of creativity, positivity and appreciating mistakes for what they teach us
- Being the executive leader to the Customer Support, Supply Chain, production and Project management teams. Guiding them to success and developing their futures
- The ultimate problem solver for our team, suppliers and customers. When our team needs help you find solutions!
- Ensuring the details that go into our S&OP are the absolute best reflection of reality possible.
- Creating and implementing a vision of how these teams function together that meets the needs of the business today and in the future

Deliverables:
- Be a scientist
- Substantiate/Challenge beliefs and perceptions through unbiased data collection
- When implementing solutions ensure that information collected is set up for analysis and can easily be used for that purpose
- Problem Solving and technical resource: Have and offer a deep and broad operations playbook to serve as a collaboration partner, teacher and resource to the Supply Chain, Production Engineering, Compliance, Project Management and Support functions.
- Be a knowledge center for all functions
- Exceptional Excel and data management
- Know how ERP and work management systems can be utilized to drive performance and always be teaching the art of what’s achievable
- Maintain a knowledge base of various contemporary work place solutions and utilize that knowledge to identify solutions to solve Sparkmeter needs
- Role model service leadership. Be the invisible hero. Lift your team and everyone around you up by bringing them all value through….
- Role world class communications, especially when engaging customers
- Build the team. Your goal should be that the team doesn’t need you. It takes time to get processes and systems to operate
- Transparent goals and KPIs
- Profound empathy and connectivity
- Actionable, honest and frequent feedback- constant constructive accountability
- Celebrate and champion successes and the right behaviors
- Be a culture champion
- Build constrictive professional understanding between you and everyone in your group. Meet with direct reports twice weekly and skip levels every other week
- Be a change agent:
- Always challenge the current state
- Establish and drive a Continuous improvement program
- Work in the “Outerloop” focusing on sustainable change that solves core issues. Don’t get stuck patching up symptoms
- Understand the adoption curve and always be planting seeds of change
- Set the bar for what good looks like and slowly over time keep raising it
- Architect the right cross functional systems and drive persistent optimization to solve issues between functions:
- Always work to perceive the bigger picture and solve core issues rather than fixing symptoms
- Always be envisioning 6 months to a year ahead and put things in motion to keep us where we need to be
- Be the escalation path for operations:
- When issues the functional leaders need help to resolve step in to help solve them
- Guide- don’t direct resolution. Coach the functional leaders to solve problems on their own, don’t take away their right to learn and safely “fail” without being failures

Requirements
- Love and excel high pressure, high visibility rapid change environments
- Be able to convey a sense of calm even when things are crazy
- Be extremely proactive. Always planning 6 months to a year in advance
- Have a very deep technical playbook or tool set that you have developed from years of experience specifically in Supply Chain, Production, Customer Support, ERP optimization and use, and all the little things that make an operational team great
- Live the Quality mindset- everything comes from 5 whys- there is nothing we can not understand
- An Aspirational executive leader. You will need to want to lead people and be the person people come to for help. Your job is to listen, coach, teach and support
- Excel at and derive energy from building and maintaining systems - as opposed to providing ad-hoc, one-off responses
- Be comfortable leveraging technology and modern platforms to achieve your objective, and drive adoption of these tools within the team - as opposed to defining processes focused on HR compliance only, with usability as an afterthought
- Be motivated by actively and regularly reaching out to people at every level of the company to learn from their experience and motivations, and use these learnings in conjunction with your experience and your discovery of key business objectives to establish the strategy and implement the systems that will help us reach our goals - as opposed to starting with a set idea of what approach "will work" without considering the scar tissue and lived experience from our team and company.
- Be comfortable with not having immediate answers to every question, but always providing clarity on a path and timeline to get them - as opposed to overcommit
- Never avoiding hard discussions.
- You have been a leader in at least 3 of the functions you will be accountable for; Supply Chain, Production, Customer Support, S&OP and Project management for companies that manufacture industrial devices for a heavily regulated industry
- You have accumulated significant experience in Pre-Series B or early stage startup companies, and ideally you have lived through the growth/hockey stick phase of a startup.
- You have experience coaching supervisors/managers and developed leaders in the past
- You have worked in a company with teams in multiple countries and you have participated in anticipating or resolving issues related to international compliance

Where you will work from:
- You will work out of our Nairobi office or Remote but must be located in Africa. SparkMeter is headquartered in Washington, DC (USA) and our two largest teams are located in DC and Nairobi (Kenya), but we have people all over the world. You will occasionally need to travel, but not more than once a quarter

Our values and how we embody them:
- Be a pioneer
- We take our energy from finding innovative solutions to important problems.
- We don't shy away from the unbeaten path or from hard problems.
- We believe that existing solutions and products, ours and others', are opportunities for improvement.
- Listen to understand
- We believe that the most important part of a dialogue is listening, not talking
- We actively seek others' opinions and experience of the world to improve and complete our own.
- We ask hard questions to understand others' opinions and experience at a deeper level, and we assume good intentions when asked questions about our own.
- Act together
- We welcome and look for feedback on our plans and actions, to improve them and eliminate duplicates or repeats.
- We believe that transparency, openness and clarity in our plans and actions are essential to achieving great things as a team. We assume that anyone within the team acts with good intentions and shares information responsibly.
- We are driven by the great outcomes that we achieve as a team.
- Grow capability
- We look to continually learn new skills and improve our existing skills.
- We believe in sharing our knowledge with others to strengthen and challenge our abilities as well as help others grow their own.
- We know that the quality of our work and of our peers' work is impacted as much if not more by their human skills and by the richness of their experience as by the technical skills that directly match their job description.
- Take responsibility
- We believe that every action we take impacts others, in ways that we may or may notice. We accept accountability for the results of our actions and ask for forgiveness as we implement corrections.
- We are not afraid of making mistakes. But we strive to never make the same mistake twice.
- When noticing a problem or a potential of improvement, our first thought is "what can I do to make it better", and our second thought is "who should I talk to in order to make my plan better."

Job Description

This is a new position at SparkMeter and will report to the COO. The Senior Director of Operations at SparkMeter is accountable for continuing the maturation of three specific functions within SparkMeter. Those functions are Customer Support, Supply Chain / Production, Compliance/Strategic Project Management/S&OP. We are looking for a highly experienced energetic cross functional operations leader to provide uplifting and value adding guidance and visioning to the leaders of each of these departments as well as the entire team.

This role is a senior leadership role that would be 80% enabling and 20% architecting. The enabling leadership will be delivered by providing solutions to the operations teams needs by offering ideas, perspective, tools, training, coaching, problem solving all drawn from experience. The goal is to help the Compliance/Strategic Project Management, Supply Chain/Production and Customer Support leaders keep the pace of change and are successful in the areas of delivery by closely integrating with their daily work and helping them overcome challenges. This person will also work to envision how these functions integrate to produce cross functional results.

The Senior Director of Operations will also take over as the face of SparkMeter on interactions with customers when customer issues require senior leader intervention and resolution. The COO will still be available if further escalation is required.

Occasionally the Senior Director of Operations will also need to play a lead role in organizing, sustaining or simply making sure things are working correctly in various projects. These may be short projects or longer term lasting from a week to a year.
This will enable the COO to spend more time collaborating and architecting with the C team, hire the Quality leader and help the Production Engineering leader.

Success for the Senior Director of Operations will be measured in the successful functioning of the operations team.

SparkMeter is a rapidly growing organization with employees distributed across 3 continents (Africa, Europe & America) with the majority of staff being in the eastern time zone USA and Kenya. Our two offices are in Washington, DC and Nairobi Kenya. Roughly 30% of our staff is fully remote - and since the COVID-19 outbreak, upwards of 90% of our team interactions happen remotely. We’re tremendously proud of the people centric culture we have created and it shows in our median tenure of employees being around 3 years, for a 9 year old company

You will be responsible for:
- Developing team members from great potential to great leaders. Develop your own replacements- so that you can replace me!
- Create a culture of creativity, positivity and appreciating mistakes for what they teach us
- Being the executive leader to the Customer Support, Supply Chain, production and Project management teams. Guiding them to success and developing their futures
- The ultimate problem solver for our team, suppliers and customers. When our team needs help you find solutions!
- Ensuring the details that go into our S&OP are the absolute best reflection of reality possible.
- Creating and implementing a vision of how these teams function together that meets the needs of the business today and in the future

Deliverables:
- Be a scientist
- Substantiate/Challenge beliefs and perceptions through unbiased data collection
- When implementing solutions ensure that information collected is set up for analysis and can easily be used for that purpose
- Problem Solving and technical resource: Have and offer a deep and broad operations playbook to serve as a collaboration partner, teacher and resource to the Supply Chain, Production Engineering, Compliance, Project Management and Support functions.
- Be a knowledge center for all functions
- Exceptional Excel and data management
- Know how ERP and work management systems can be utilized to drive performance and always be teaching the art of what’s achievable
- Maintain a knowledge base of various contemporary work place solutions and utilize that knowledge to identify solutions to solve Sparkmeter needs
- Role model service leadership. Be the invisible hero. Lift your team and everyone around you up by bringing them all value through….
- Role world class communications, especially when engaging customers
- Build the team. Your goal should be that the team doesn’t need you. It takes time to get processes and systems to operate
- Transparent goals and KPIs
- Profound empathy and connectivity
- Actionable, honest and frequent feedback- constant constructive accountability
- Celebrate and champion successes and the right behaviors
- Be a culture champion
- Build constrictive professional understanding between you and everyone in your group. Meet with direct reports twice weekly and skip levels every other week
- Be a change agent:
- Always challenge the current state
- Establish and drive a Continuous improvement program
- Work in the “Outerloop” focusing on sustainable change that solves core issues. Don’t get stuck patching up symptoms
- Understand the adoption curve and always be planting seeds of change
- Set the bar for what good looks like and slowly over time keep raising it
- Architect the right cross functional systems and drive persistent optimization to solve issues between functions:
- Always work to perceive the bigger picture and solve core issues rather than fixing symptoms
- Always be envisioning 6 months to a year ahead and put things in motion to keep us where we need to be
- Be the escalation path for operations:
- When issues the functional leaders need help to resolve step in to help solve them
- Guide- don’t direct resolution. Coach the functional leaders to solve problems on their own, don’t take away their right to learn and safely “fail” without being failures

Requirements
- Love and excel high pressure, high visibility rapid change environments
- Be able to convey a sense of calm even when things are crazy
- Be extremely proactive. Always planning 6 months to a year in advance
- Have a very deep technical playbook or tool set that you have developed from years of experience specifically in Supply Chain, Production, Customer Support, ERP optimization and use, and all the little things that make an operational team great
- Live the Quality mindset- everything comes from 5 whys- there is nothing we can not understand
- An Aspirational executive leader. You will need to want to lead people and be the person people come to for help. Your job is to listen, coach, teach and support
- Excel at and derive energy from building and maintaining systems - as opposed to providing ad-hoc, one-off responses
- Be comfortable leveraging technology and modern platforms to achieve your objective, and drive adoption of these tools within the team - as opposed to defining processes focused on HR compliance only, with usability as an afterthought
- Be motivated by actively and regularly reaching out to people at every level of the company to learn from their experience and motivations, and use these learnings in conjunction with your experience and your discovery of key business objectives to establish the strategy and implement the systems that will help us reach our goals - as opposed to starting with a set idea of what approach "will work" without considering the scar tissue and lived experience from our team and company.
- Be comfortable with not having immediate answers to every question, but always providing clarity on a path and timeline to get them - as opposed to overcommit
- Never avoiding hard discussions.
- You have been a leader in at least 3 of the functions you will be accountable for; Supply Chain, Production, Customer Support, S&OP and Project management for companies that manufacture industrial devices for a heavily regulated industry
- You have accumulated significant experience in Pre-Series B or early stage startup companies, and ideally you have lived through the growth/hockey stick phase of a startup.
- You have experience coaching supervisors/managers and developed leaders in the past
- You have worked in a company with teams in multiple countries and you have participated in anticipating or resolving issues related to international compliance

Where you will work from:
- You will work out of our Nairobi office or Remote but must be located in Africa. SparkMeter is headquartered in Washington, DC (USA) and our two largest teams are located in DC and Nairobi (Kenya), but we have people all over the world. You will occasionally need to travel, but not more than once a quarter

Our values and how we embody them:
- Be a pioneer
- We take our energy from finding innovative solutions to important problems.
- We don't shy away from the unbeaten path or from hard problems.
- We believe that existing solutions and products, ours and others', are opportunities for improvement.
- Listen to understand
- We believe that the most important part of a dialogue is listening, not talking
- We actively seek others' opinions and experience of the world to improve and complete our own.
- We ask hard questions to understand others' opinions and experience at a deeper level, and we assume good intentions when asked questions about our own.
- Act together
- We welcome and look for feedback on our plans and actions, to improve them and eliminate duplicates or repeats.
- We believe that transparency, openness and clarity in our plans and actions are essential to achieving great things as a team. We assume that anyone within the team acts with good intentions and shares information responsibly.
- We are driven by the great outcomes that we achieve as a team.
- Grow capability
- We look to continually learn new skills and improve our existing skills.
- We believe in sharing our knowledge with others to strengthen and challenge our abilities as well as help others grow their own.
- We know that the quality of our work and of our peers' work is impacted as much if not more by their human skills and by the richness of their experience as by the technical skills that directly match their job description.
- Take responsibility
- We believe that every action we take impacts others, in ways that we may or may notice. We accept accountability for the results of our actions and ask for forgiveness as we implement corrections.
- We are not afraid of making mistakes. But we strive to never make the same mistake twice.
- When noticing a problem or a potential of improvement, our first thought is "what can I do to make it better", and our second thought is "who should I talk to in order to make my plan better."

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