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Processes

Business Process Problem

Jobs done differently all the time

Quality companies establish the best way to perform each function and then stick to it (until a better way is discovered and the process is upgraded). Process variability hurts performance and impacts the bottom line.

The solution is simple. Define processes, train employees to follow them, track adherence using checklists and improve each process as needed. We tend to shy away from documenting processes because it sounds hard. But it’s not. To get started simply ask employees to write down in detail what they do and how they do it. Some companies assign someone to be the documenter which just means they interview people about their job duties and write down what they hear. Adding photos, screenshots and video is also helpful. The results are worth the effort.

Business Process Problem

Continuous improvement

Defining your company’s way of doing things through process documentation doesn’t mean that things should be done a certain way forever. Au contraire, the best companies are constantly improving what they do and how they do it.

There is reactive improvement and proactive improvement. Reactive is when something goes wrong, the cause is identified and a process is created or modified to prevent the problem from occurring again. Proactive improvement is when a company engages in a continuous cycle of examining processes, considering alternatives, testing the alternative and then modifying the standard process if and when the new approach is proven to be an improvement.

Either way there is always a better way of doing things. To be our best and to be or become the market leader (however we’ve defined our market) we must constantly search for better ways and stick to them when they prove out.

The Big Six Cure

Prioritizing key processes

Prioritizing key processes ensures you standardize the most important first. Mapping processes make them visually clear so you can see the steps and be ready to document them in SOPs (standard operating procedures). Once mapped and documented, train and cross train people in the SOP to ensure that the same steps are taken every time. And lastly, no process is best forever. Review them regularly to improve them continuously. 

Brian Kinahan
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