I mean… what’s not to enjoy?
Building a process that begins at point A, understands the arrival point B, and connects all those dots with effective steps and outcomes is actually the sort of thing I might do for fun. But then, that’s why I am in this job and my clients are in theirs, we are all focusing on our own strengths.
What they do enjoy, however, is seeing that process laid out. When they can actually picture the full journey that will bring them to success.
There are many advantages to having a defined business process, not least of which that it frees up the mind to be a factory instead of a warehouse. An effective process frees up your employees to be creative and use their own personal skills, while still achieving the stated goals and representing the brand accordingly.
In effect, when a process is well designed it means freedom, autonomy, and adaptability. Everything a team needs to succeed.
In effect, when a process is well designed it means freedom, autonomy, and adaptability.
What is Business Process
It is, quite simply, a series of pre-established activities that will achieve a certain goal. Ideally these are built at the departmental level at least. Even within a small business, different business models, revenue streams, and operational functions require their own process.
Having a process facilitates training of employees as well as tracking of outcomes. These are two elements essential to continuous business improvement, and without a process they are both guess work at best.
There is no single right way to do this but, as is always the case, there are plenty of wrong ways.
How to build a business process
Start with the end in mind (who is surprised to hear me say that.. again?).
What are the goals of the business? How does this given department contribute to those goals? These questions come before you even consider the “role” of your department. If I’m good at soccer and I join a basketball team I wouldn’t say “Well I’m good at kicking the ball so have me do that”. Rather, I would understand the finer points of basketball and see how my skills adapt to those needs.
Explain the over-arching business goals and then set them within the business values. The latter will dictate the standards of behavior that are acceptable in achieving those goals. Then look at your own departmental skills, people and resources and determine how you can contribute to those goals. You are, in effect, writing your own departmental goals and values at this point.
Then, and only then, can you build an effective process.
Keep it alive
The process is not an end to itself. The process is not the goal. It is a vehicle to achieve the goal. Which means that the process must be monitored, managed and improved.
A good process does have simple metrics in place to track is effectiveness, both in quality as in quantity of outcomes. Those results must be checked regularly for areas of weakness or against changes in the business environment.
Changes may also come from inside: a new business goal, an adapted strategy or a new leader are all things that will probably affect some part of the process.
This change becomes easy with a good process in place: identify the step or steps that will have the needed impact on improvement, and make your small changes to those alone. It allows for smaller incremental change, meaning less disruption, less training and overall happier people. In other words: less time managing and more time doing.
Do you need more process in your business? Contact me for a first consult or a process overhaul. When working on a process I look at Why, How, Who, Resources and Deliverables.