A process is a beautiful thing. It moves a business seamlessly from one step to another, culminating in the achievement of the goal of the process. It follows rules and structure. This is an ideal scenario and in most businesses, a process is not a beautiful thing. It’s more often muddled through and managed to a point where the process doesn’t work. 

A process that limps along is often struggling due to lack of understanding, lack of care and/or lack of investment. It is not beautiful at all but uncomfortable like a pebble in your shoe. It’s frustrating and can lead to an unhappy team and environment. What are you to do? Let’s explore further.

Lack of Understanding

A process has a structure that needs to have logical steps to move forward. A process can have a short term period or it can be a long term, highly strategic plan. No matter how long a process is, if the team don’t understand it then it will never be implemented successfully.

A way to combat this is to provide visual (such as a swimlane diagram or a flowchart) and written plans (such as a SOP – Standard Operating Procedure) of the summary of the process from start to end. A simple flow chart can do wonders to illustrate the steps in a process. Grab a sheet of paper and draw lines and boxes if necessary. The more complex, the more elements there will be, but keep it as simple as possible for the audience who need to understand it. 

Lack of Care

No matter how invested you are in something, chances are most people you work with won’t be. Processes may be followed, but there may be a lack of care in delivering a process properly. For product-based businesses, this may result in bad reviews or complaints from consumers if something goes wrong. For service-based businesses, it could result in lost revenue and affect business relationships. 

This may come down to personal professionalism but often it’s because human nature causes us to try and skip steps, to find shortcuts to the end. A process in most cases doesn’t allow skipped steps or there could be major consequences. In construction can you imagine what would happen if anyone skipped a safety step?  

Processes need to become a part of the culture. If you are hiring people who don’t care, they never will so good hiring needs to be at the forefront of caring about what your business is trying to achieve. The smallest processes done well will have an impact so invest in people who will care.

Lack of Investment

At any stage of a process, you need the people who are involved to be invested. A process can be well thought out and coherent but if there is no buy-in from leadership, the key players /stakeholders haven’t been involved in their aspects of the process, or it’s done alone, it will never succeed. 

Think of a time where you’ve had a great idea to fix a process at work. You’ve taken the time to research, designed the plan and ready to go, but at the crucial moment the boss says no. Why? It’s beautiful!, you say. The boss needs to be invested from the start to understand why it’s important for you to invest your time (and money) in fixing it. But why was it broken in the first instance? 

By getting buy-in from colleagues and making sure all the key players / stakeholders are on board means you are setting your process up for success. 

Let’s Talk Documentation

Documentation is at the heart of a process. You want a balance of enough documentation that explain the process in detail from start to finish, but not to a point where people feel like they are drowning in print. Each step should have a clear instruction of what it delivers, who is involved and what the delivery of the process is. 

Templates and Guides can greatly help the team to be able to deliver their elements of the process and keeps the process consistent. By developing structure and guidance information, you’re setting your team up to deliver successfully. 

Make sure you Measure your Process

A process has to have a goal. It has to achieve something. A process can be beautiful but if there’s no way of measuring what it will achieve, what’s the point? This is reflective at all levels of business from a strategy of office management. A beautiful process will streamline time and ultimately deliver a cost-benefit. How you measure a process? 

A process can be measured by time saved after implementation versus the previous way; by customer satisfaction; potentially by fewer errors or increased productivity. However, you measure your process, keep a record and review it regularly to see how you can continue to optimise the process overall and potentially further streamline steps within the process. 

A smooth process is a beautiful thing and by making sure it’s clear, documented, you have buy-in and support from the team and leadership and you have a mechanism for measuring, you’ll be well on the way to success. 


Find out more about our Process Ninja.



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