For there is a proper time and procedure for every delight.Eccl 8:6
Good at figuring out the processes necessary to get things done
Knows how to organize people and activities
Understands how to separate and combine tasks into efficient work flows
Knows what work to measure and how to measure it
Can see opportunities for synergy and integration where others can’t
Can simplify complex processes into simple to understand steps
“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, then you don’t know what you are doing.”
– W. Edwards Deming
Not good at figuring out effective and efficient ways to get things done
Works in a disorganized fashion
Doesn’t take advantage of opportunities for synergy and efficiency with others – uses more resources than others to get the same thing done
Can’t visualize effective processes in one’s own head
Lays out tasks for self and others in an unorganized way
Is not skilled at simplifying tasks
Lacks attention to detail
Doesn’t anticipate problems that will arise; not a systemic thinker
“Life is a perpetual instruction in cause and effect.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Causes of Weakness
Don’t visualize well how things work or the process that is used to get things done
Non Systems Thinking
Doesn’t view things in terms of systems and their interactions
Impatient for thinking about or documenting processes
Inexperienced with how to document processes
Not interested in focusing on details or administrative tasks
“It’s a slow process. Don’t make it slower by quitting.”
Review the simple application steps below and choose 1 or 2 things you can do to spur yourself on to further growth.
DEFINE PROCESSES: Identify each process that your team needs defined. Consider the following questions: What do we need to accomplish? What is the timeline? What resources will I need? Who is responsible for which parts and which steps? What are the inputs (documents or resources required) to each step? What are the outputs (results) of each step?
Think 'What If'
THINK ‘WHAT IF’: When defining or improving processes, ask yourself, ‘What could go wrong?’ Anticipate potential problems that could come up during the process. Rank those potential problems in terms of likelihood and severity of impact. Create a contingency plan for high ranking potential problems and/or design things into your process to minimize the risks of those potential problems.
Follow the Process
FOLLOW THE PROCESS: If people don’t follow the processes, then the processes have little or no value. Stop to make sure that each person has been trained on each relevant process. Make sure to explain the ‘why’ behind every process, and every step of the process. Allow people to ask questions and even push back. If people aren’t committed to the process, don’t understand the process, don’t like the process, or don’t agree with the process, they are less likely to follow the process. Take time up front to make sure that each person understands and is committed to the processes.
Involve Your Team
INVOLVE YOUR TEAM: Involve all relevant team members in the definition and creation of each process, whenever possible. This will increase their commitment to following the process, and help ensure that the process is more well-rounded and comprehensive. If your processes are already defined, then involve relevant team members in periodically evaluating processes and improving them over time.
Match People with Tasks
MATCH PEOPLE WITH TASKS: Processes are wonderful, but they don’t always work well if you have assigned people to complete a task who are not well suited for the job. Make sure that you understand each team member’s passions, purpose, and skills – and match that with the right responsibilities. This helps to ensure that your staff are capable and willing to follow the processes.
MONITOR: Determine how you will monitor your processes. How will you know how well each process is being followed? Who will evaluate the ongoing effectiveness of the process? How often? What action will you take if their are problems with the process?
BEST PRACTICES: Study others organizations, teams and individuals who have similar goals and initiative to your team. What can you learn from them?
- Thinking in Systems: A Primer Paperback – Donella H. Meadows
- The Process Improvement Handbook: A Blueprint for Managing Change and Increasing Organizational Performance – T Boutros & T Purdie
- The Lean Six Sigma Pocket Toolbook: A Quick Reference Guide to 100 Tools for Improving Quality and Speed – M. George & J. Maxey