The operations managers we speak to are integral to the way their business’ function in many different ways. Some helped start a business and now they’re helping it grow. Others are in charge of day-to-day trading and supply chains; others recruitment and training. Many do all of the above at once, in one hectic whirl…and for that, we have the utmost respect.
So, in attempt to make the lives of our esteemed operations managers that little bit easier, we’ve curated a list of 11 podcasts to help you wear each of your different hats more effectively. Whatever your role incorporates, here’s some aural inspiration to help you get ready for the day, boost your skillset, and wind down after a hard day’s work.
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About these podcasts
Operations management is as about as multi-disciplined a role as it’s possible to have. Our selection is a response to that, exploring the many facets of ops management, whilst remembering that there’s value in being able to step away from the minutiae occasionally so you can see the wider picture. In this selection you’ll find podcasts from startups and established business leaders. There’s as much of a UK influence on this list as US, and you’ll hear a diverse range of views from a diverse group of people. Enjoy.
Best podcast if… you’re starting up
Unflinchingly honest account of the challenges in taking a business from startup to growth and success. So honest, in fact, that every now and again there’s a short and apologetic post from founder Adam Callow explaining that business got in the way of the latest episode. Great for anyone looking to scale and grow the value side of the business, with a recurring theme of not being so enamoured with your initial business idea that it shackles you and prevents you spotting and seizing opportunities.
We particularly like the Startup Stories that focus on others who have built/are building successful businesses, and the episodes that cover real nuts and bolts, such as ‘Building a maternity/paternity policy that doesn’t suck’
Best podcast if… you’re a growing business
FT Start-Up Stories & Masters of Scale
We’re cheating a little bit here because the FT’s impressively authoritative podcast is also, on the face of it, a place for startups. But as with all podcasts that start out with startups, they tend to grow with the listenership. Start-Up Stories develops to explore areas that matter to growing businesses (building trust, challenging the biggest competitors in your sector), so there’s as much here for those seeking growth as those wanting to launch.
Alternatively, try Masters of Scale with LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, whose conversations with famous founders get under the hood of what really goes on when business start to scale up. What’s so impressive about this series is the calibre of the guests, with the likes of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Airbnb’s Brian Chesky and Starbucks’ Howard Schultz all joining the conversation. Heavyweight discussion for businesses that want to become heavyweights themselves.
Best podcast if… you want to be a better manager
The Modern Manager
There are a gazillion management technique podcasts out there and we could have recommended dozens of them, but what attracts us to Mamie Kamfer Stewart’s podcast is its happy knack of touching on topics that really can make a difference to your working day as a manager. From principles for managing emails to dealing with workplace bullying and avoiding burnout, The Modern Manager is part study guide and part reminder of management principles you probably know, but need a refresher on once in a while.
Best podcast if… you want to be more productive
The Productivityist Podcast
“Tips, tools, tactics and tricks designed to help you take your productivity, time management, goals, to do lists, habits and workflow to new heights.” Mike Vardy’s podcast loses marks for some irritatingly obscure episode titles, some of which offer little clue as to what you’ll find within (‘Filling Your Cup’?) but gains them back again for some genuinely thought provoking lessons in getting things done.
Ironically for a podcast that’s all about habit breaking – it’s well worth making a part of your daily commute ritual.
Best podcast if… you want to build your personal brand
Don’t be fooled by the US intro; Chris Ducker is a British entrepreneur, author and speaker and Youpreneur started out as a guide to helping you grow your personal brand which, whether you’re a manager looking to progress or a business owner looking to grow, is a core part of success.
350 (and counting) episodes in, that aim has taken on a broader focus and episodes now encompass everything from how to crowdfund, to monetising online content to (appropriately enough) creating a podcast that people will listen to.
Packed with ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ moments, Ducker is the man to help you build ‘brand you’.
Best podcast if… you want to build better teams
Stacking Your Team: Growing Teams and Team Building for Female Entrepreneurs
Billed as “a show for women entrepreneurs… who are ready to step into the CEO role by attracting and retaining key talent” this podcast a) has lots of benefits for everyone, not just women, and b) has smart advice for creating and leading great teams across organisations, not just when you’ve reached C-level.
That said, there’s plenty here for your typical COO and CEO, from help to devise hiring strategies and a culture that fits your growing brand, to how to roll out a change of compensation package to your team.
A welcome mix of business leader interviews, training and on-air coaching.
Listen on Spotify
Best podcast if… you want inspiration as a woman in business
Girlboss Radio with Sophia Amoruso
Sophia Amoruso is the woman who, in her own words, took a business she founded with “a few hundred bucks” and created Nasty Gal, a fashion business that “now does $100 million in revenue.”
This isn’t your average business podcast. Not every episode is about pure business – many are about creative and cultural initiatives – but each one does feature trailblazing women talking about “what it takes to build a successful career or grow a business with staying power – while living life on their own terms and navigating personal and professional curveballs.”
The ‘edginess’ of some of the regular contributors can feel a little forced at times, but when the podcast settles down and talks to its main guests, it’s honest, open and genuinely illuminating.
Best podcast if…you want to explore the big issues
TED Talks Daily
Ok, so it’s the safest of safe choices, but inspirational ideas delivered by inspirational leaders is TED’s raison d’être. TED Talks Daily is a digest of talks given at TED’s conferences around the globe, and listening is an excellent way of forcing you to step back from the minutiae of your business to see its broader impacts and influences.
From AI to the environment, politics to culture, TED Talks Daily encourage you to see the world differently, which can have a profound effect on the way you strategise and lead.
Best podcast if…you want to challenge conventional wisdom
More or Less: Behind the Statistics
A curious mind is one of the prerequisites of the business entrepreneur and ops manager. Questioning the KPIs is part of the day job, and if challenging the statistics gives you a buzz, we suggest winding down with this podcast from BBC Radio 4, which tries to get to the bottom of the economic, social and environmental stats that surround us.
Best podcast if… you want to showcase you brand values
Selfridge’s Hot Air
A podcast by the UK’s second largest supermarket which features not a word about running a supermarket. This is a magazine-style podcast curated by Sainsbury’s in which its brand values are demonstrated subtly through the eclectic stories it features, with each season built around a one word theme: Eyes (S1), Art (S2) and Self (S3). A masterclass in creating a podcast that gets people talking about your brand without talking about your brand. Small wonder it was a winner at this year’s British Podcast Awards.
Listen because it’s fascinating. Then listen again to consider the lessons it offers for everyone else building a brand.
Finished listening? If it’s time to get back to the day job and the day job involves sourcing the right office space for your people, talk to our experts now, or start your search here.
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