Everything is a process – from making a cup of tea, going on holiday (remember that?) to running an organisation of any size – everything we do relies on that most basic of building blocks – process. A series of connected or aligned tasks taking you from a start to an end.
Understanding how we do what we do is one of the core pillars of continually doing stuff better.
So why should we get excited about processes?
First, processes give you a view into the heart and soul of a business. Move beyond the tasks associated with process improvement and you’ll find process stories, measures and controls that tell you about culture, customer focus and cross-silo working. Simple process maps or pictures tell you how a business does what it does, help identify the possible causes of waste, customer complaints or unnecessary cost and opportunities for improvement. Once you understand its process architecture and capabilities you know how the business works.
Second, process is the best common currency for getting people together, increasing awareness of what each other does. It enables better teamwork, it helps break down barriers and removes misconceptions and working together with process as your common language encourages inclusion. It’s so versatile too – you can put an efficiency slant on the discussions, a service perspective, a training or induction view or even an emotional assessment (that’s coming in my next post!).
Third concentrating on process allows people to be creative, to release discretionary effort. Improving process empowers people to take ownership of their work environment. Improving their work environment contributes to greater well being. Not everyone can or wants to do strategy, IT development or complex legal analysis but everyone has the capability to improve their contribution to an end to end process and understand how they fit into any organisation’s overall aims.
Processes really matter.