Business Processes: Sometimes You Develop Them… Sometimes You Destroy Them
There is a lot of talk in business about developing and implementing business processes.
Once we understand the series of actions which result in a desirable outcome, we should teach people how to follow that process (and make sure they do). Documenting the process makes this easier.
Most businesses follow processes, some deliberately and some subconsciously. But what about DESTROYING processes? You see, sometimes we have processes in place which simply aren’t working. In fact, they are having a negative effect on the business, like a bad habit.
The problem-solving process is one area where bad habits arise because some problems are complicated, and/or we don’t like the solutions. It may be that management has been talking about an issue for a long time, sometimes years, but hasn’t really made progress. What can happen is management starts to focus on the problem, not the solution, for example:
- We’ll never get better with the current team. They simply work too slowly
- I have to spend most of my time training and re-training the team
- Some of our team are simply not up to the challenges of their work
- People simply don’t communicate enough on this issue
Suddenly, 30 minutes can go by while managers describe the problems, often in full agreement with one another.
Ever experienced that kind of meeting?
The fact is management is wasting time.
They should identify which processes are broken and then focus on destroying and rebuilding them. Examples:
- Recruitment process: if people are incompetent, how did they get interviews?
- Hiring process: Who decided to hire them and why?
- Onboarding process: Did the business properly equip people to do their job when they joined?
- Training process: Does the business continually provide them with knowledge and tools to excel as the needs of the business change?
- Performance management process: Has the business pointed out the gap between employees’ work and management’s expectations?
- Compensation process: Could the issue be around incentivisation? Maybe the team doesn’t care enough?
- Internal communication process: People work better when they understand the direction of the business: the ‘vision’, the ‘why’, the ‘North Star’
- Termination process: sometimes people are not suited to the organization, in which case quick and decisive action is needed.
Managers should diagnose the situation and make plans to fix it. Fault is not the issue. In fact, as leaders, if we blame someone else, we are failing to take responsibility. Leadership is all about taking responsibility. Bad habits can form among management groups especially those who work together for extended periods. And ‘excuses’ creep in.
Management Meetings should be entirely focused on SOLUTIONS. If you have processes or habits which prevent you from arriving at solutions, DESTROY them! Don’t try tweaking them. Start again. Remember the old adage, ‘if it’s someone else’s fault, you are not being a manager’.