A BLOG ABOUT PROCESS
Stop yawning at the back ...
Posted by John Wade on 14/05/2012
Process is more important than you think - after all it's the reason that Superman wears his underpants outside his trousers, and you don't. And if that's too sexist, perhaps process is the reason you don't walk out of the loo with your skirt tucked into your knickers ...
process is all important when you're looking for success
Process is an order of doing things. No more, no less. And we all employ process, from our early-morning routines through to eating at the end of the day - unless you want to turn out looking messy, being unorganised, losing time and money, and risking your reputation. And in going through the 'core' processes in our daily lives such as getting dressed, we use 'subsidiary' or 'supporting' processes to help - such as ensuring we've got matching clothes, ties, and in the case of Superman, pants. You know it makes sense, even if you've never really thought about it in that depth before.
Which probably explains why so many of us act in the same way in our business lives. Process is one of those areas where people often complain when things don't happen as they should, yet rarely spend the time (or, frankly, care enough) to review what is done; how it's done; and of overarching importance, why it's done.
We've acted for one organisation with fewer than 100 people, with seven (that's right) different ways of dealing with one process that is core to their business; and a dozen different methods of providing the information needed to undertake those seven processes. So when people 'forgot' or were absent for any part of the process, some things were being done twice, and others not at all. Nightmare! There were high levels of complaints, and a great deal of time fixing things that shouldn't have gone wrong in the first place. We've worked with another where each recruit was taught by the last recruit, with the consequence that after three years, the whole department had a dozen ways of doing the same thing, and none of them were right!
They didn't need Superman, although it felt like it at times. They needed time, process, project managing, and the encouragement to change. They had reason enough, spending more time fixing things that had gone wrong than they would have spent doing it right in the first place.
My career has been about the operational side of business. Making sure that the people and processes are of - and to - the right standards, meet business objectives, comply with the appropriate regulations, and satisfy customers and clients. I'm constantly surprised that operations and process often get the least attention, when they're too often the reason that businesses don't deliver. I'm fascinated by the interplay of people and process, and love nothing better than to see that 'light-bulb' moment when 'process-spaghetti' becomes untangled, and people buy in to change.
I've helped businesses into and through new regulations and Quality Standards; write and rewrite procedures manuals that save time and improve quality; implemented new CRM and back-office systems which help businesses manage growth; merged businesses and combined departments; and led business continuity initiatives which identify critical processes and ensure their rapid recovery when significant disruption happens.
I've spent most of my time in retail banking, and managing law firms, international management consulting businesses, and insurance intermediaries. I work in the Not for Profit sector, and provide Business Continuity advice to a range of organisations, from manufacturing, through retail, to business and professional service firms. All have people, process and change management requirements - and a desire to improve how they do what they do.
I'm not Superman, though - I work with and for businesses prepared to help themselves, and create their own future prosperity through effective organisation and delivery of high-class products and services. After all, it's your business isn't it?
If you have a whole pile of process spaghetti you need to unravel, feel there are inefficiencies in your business, or just need to talk through some changes you want to make then why not call me on +44 (0) 844 848 4853 or click here to drop me an email. I'm here to help!
Until next time ...
John has been leading change initiatives for more than twenty years, achieving success in making businesses more effective, operationally and strategically. He has particular skills and achievements in project management, process improvement and change management, where he has overseen significant profit improvement, reduced costs and improved quality systems - especially where regulation and compliance are important.