Welcome!  We are a leading global firm specializing in implementing strategic business and operations improvement.


For nearly 25 years, The Center for Excellence in Operations, Inc. (CEO for short) has implemented strategic and breakthrough improvement in over 300 global Terry Head Shots-15organizations and diverse industries.  We have extensive implementation experience with Kaizen, Lean, Six Sigma, The Toyota Production System (TPS), Supply Chain Excellence, Product Development Excellence, Transactional Process Reengineering, Technology-Enabled Improvement, Turnarounds, Private Equity and Acquisition Integration, and other general continuous improvement engagements.  We are also recognized improvement innovators in more complex, non-standard improvement situations such as the global network of professional, technical, knowledge-based transactional processes and their respective technology architectures. CEO is affiliated with L.E.K. Consulting as one of their “Expert Network” partners.

Our assignments are not the traditional boilerplate Kaizen, Lean and TPS, Six Sigma, Agile Development, or other limited tools-based approaches to improvement.  Much of our work involves creating an adaptive systematic, enterprise-wide and culturally grounded “Improvement Business System” driven by individual client business requirements and cultural development needs.  We specialize in helping our clients achieve breakthrough levels of performance by whatever operational excellence leadership, strategy, improvement analytics, talent development, and cultural nurturing (KATA) guidance is necessary.  Our clients achieve and sustain operational excellence in their own way.

The big differentiator of our practice is best understood by our clients.  We are very experienced change leaders, operations analysts, business system architects, and subject matter experts that have deep and diverse industry experiences, adaptive improvement skills, business process knowledge, and the ability to lead executives and their organizations to new levels of competitiveness and superior performance.  We pride ourselves on building this competency internally with our clients so they can continue to achieve even higher levels of performance and cultural success.  Improvement by our definition is tangible revenue growth, market share, cost reduction, cash flow, asset utilization, time-to-market, supply chain excellence, best product and process quality and reliability, talent development, highest value proposition, and superior customer experiences – all of which positively impact market loyalty, EBITDA, and total stakeholder value.  We take our value proposition seriously: It is the norm for our clients to achieve annualized benefits in excess of 10X to 50X CEO’s fees.

Our Operating Model is Different – and Superior

The operating model of our firm is more of an “interim executives and transformation subject matter leaders” vs. a traditional fee for service “consulting project” model.  Why is this model superior to the typical consulting firms?  Here is the candid difference:

  1. CEO’s model is based on capacity investment to transform organizations, vs. paying the costs of a resource-loaded project(s) and the usual hierarchy of overhead support.  Our overhead structure keeps our fees lower by at least 50% of the equivalent consulting firm resources, and we do not raise the “out of scope” flag to generate more projects and fees.  Our fees are more realistic and on par with an the cost of an internal executive or VP and benefits.
  2. CEO’s depth of leadership, experience, knowledge, and professional candor is much deeper than the typical short term academic resources in a consulting organization.  All of CEO’s professionals have previously held executive, management, and individual contributor roles of our practice areas within leading corporations.  If one understands the back room of larger consulting organizations, it’s all about billings and realization.  Many of their experts are more intellectual analysts, backed by a large population of higher level strategy resources that add significant project management overhead and costs to client engagements.
  3. CEO is in the business of implementation.  What is the benefit to clients?  Our fees are an investment with an impressive ROI, not a sunk cost accompanied by risks and hopes – and often disappointment.  Our services are innovative, personalized, and achievable – not canned recipes and scholarly reports.  True implementation requires deep expertise in change leadership, behavioral alignment, and cultural development – the principles and tools are the easy part.  We work closely with our clients to plan, execute, co-own, and realize the benefits of improvement.  Lower fees and superior results equals a rapid, high ROI for our clients.  We are not the firm that you can’t shake or regret working with, but the firm that you will rehire without hesitation.  This is our established track record, our mission, and our passion for excellence and superior operating performance.

From our beginning, it was my personal passion to build a superior performing consulting organization that actually delivers rapid, breakthrough results – but also understands how to transfer leadership, knowledge, and technical skills to internal client resources. Our ability to engage in interim executive and turnaround assignments is strong testimony to our “walk in and perform immediately” style of consulting. Our efficient change leadership, execution, and results is the essence of building a strong internalized talent development competency of continuously improving how organizations improve on their own.

We Don’t Forget Execution: It’s Our Differentiator

Execution is more than a differentiator: It is our strength and our passion.  Giving advice and/or providing generic training around the latest fad improvement program or TPS/improvement tools is easy and without accountability.  Most consulting firms do not, and have not implemented much of anything.  This is not a criticism, it’s just the way the majority of this industry works.  Their strength is developing strategy, training the masses, and conducting extensive data analysis by intellectually brilliant resources with little to no industry leadership, manufacturing and business process knowledge, and implementation experience.  Their deliverable is usually boilerplate strategy, training and terminology, and/or a high level PowerPoint deck of undeniable reasonableness, and this is where many initiatives end – on the bookshelf.  Why?  Because the majority of things in business and in life are much more complicated and operate much differently on the human ground than at a 50,000 foot view or in a theoretical, intellectual context.  Our practice encompasses the entire space – from the 50,000 foot strategy and vision for change, to the realities of “Ground Zero” implementation,  superior operating results, internal talent development, and sustainability of improvement as the new cultural foundation of excellence.

Breakthrough Results Matter

Implementing strategic and operating improvements, achieving real validated results, and developing our clients to sustain their own gains is a much more complicated but rewarding endeavor – for everyone, and in every way.  CEO’s strength is in adapting the process, scope, and execution of improvement to specific organizational needs and real opportunities for our clients. Many of our client executives openly admit that working with CEO has been one of the best and most enjoyable learning experiences,  and best business investments of their entire career.  As a sidebar . . . Many have also joked about the need to change our name from “consultants” to another name that better describes how we work and collaborate with our clients.  Our clients have these strong convictions because:

  • We are proud to help our clients reach documented annualized run rate improvements equal to 3% to 10%+ of revenues.
  • We are proud to leave our clients with a 10X to 50X+ return on their CEO investment within the first 12-18 months.
  • We are proud that 100% of our clients have rehired CEO for additional projects.
  • We are proud that the majority of our business comes from our own client referrals to other executives and organizations.
  • We are proud of our long term relationships with our client executives and associates, even as they make career moves to other organizations.
  • We are proud that these performance benchmarks do not exist in any other consulting organization.

This is a quick overview of our practice: different, but superior.  But don’t take our word for it – ask our clients about their experiences, our operating style, our truth in delivery proposition, our low overhead and fee structure, and our consistent demonstrated performance.  Over the years our clients have turned out to be our best sales and marketing organization.  We invite you to browse our website and learn more about our firm’s practice, professional services, capabilities, case studies, and our consistent track record of delivering a 10X to 50X+ ROI on improvement to our clients.

Are you tired of dealing with the typical external consultant “spin” routines, but also frustrated by organic improvement efforts that are failing to deliver the desired performance expectations?  Discover your next improvement paradigm now – Contact CEO at (603) 471-0300, or burton@ceobreakthrough.com

new home pic 11 13