Consistency Beats Brilliance: 3 Ways to Make Improvement Business as Usual


I recently attended the 2016 Auckland Promapp User Summit with about 150 of our clients.  It was a great day filled with Case Study presentations, idea sharing and Promapp updates.

There’s no question that people are seeing their efforts pay off. When businesses improve the way they do things it positively impacts them at every level - not the least of which is improved profitability.

Similar to the discussions at the PEX NZ event earlier this year, the User Summit discussions were not focused on the value of business process management (it’s a given), but on continued improvement – this isn’t something you can do once and then forget about. As competitors and market expectations keep moving ahead, standing still as a business means you’ll be in danger of being left behind. The focus for many organisations then is on how to turn business process improvement into something that is truly embedded into the way the business runs.

The real value comes when business process management is a living and breathing part of the way you operate - an ongoing process - not just something you refer to or use when something goes wrong. So how do you build and keep up the momentum?

It’s something Andrew Russell from Air New Zealand and John Eshuis from Mainfreight have both grappled with – the experiences they shared in their User Summit Case Study presentations combine to create what looks like the ultimate guide to making business process management just another part of business as usual.

How to embed BPM and continuous improvement into your culture:

Start from the top, value every level

Like most changes to a business culture, support for embedding continuous process improvement into your everyday has to come from the top. Managers and leaders in the business must walk the talk, give staff time to work on improving what they do, and recognise and communicate successes.

Change has to start at the top, but to transform “the way we work”, leaders must also listen to ideas from every level of the business and support putting them in place.  Leaders must recognise that everyone within their organisation can and should contribute across every point of the customer journey.

Make processes simple & accessible

It seems like a basic thing, but it’s critical – to keep process management alive processes must be accessible and simple. When processes are simple to find, and easy to use and improve, it removes the logistical barriers that are often the death of BPM efforts.  Simple steps like embedding process links into everyday systems, including process improvement in new staff inductions, and keeping change visible in newsletters and on company intranets can make a big difference. All these steps work together to make process management easier – and just another part of everyday work.

Create incentives to engage

While linking process improvement to individual KPIs and performance objectives is vital, so too is encouraging engagement. After all, you’re asking your people to proactively look for ways they could be working better. That takes a level of engagement that goes far beyond clocking in and clocking out. There were some great ideas discussed that can help to create and retain engagement, including: 

→ Give prizes

Boost participation and engagement with small rewards like a Crunchie bar to the person with the most up up-to-date processes or dashboard.

→ Feed people

Regular meetings to discuss business process management are essential - offering food as an additional selling point on the invite can help get people to prioritise the meeting in their schedule.

→ Make it a game

Gamify process improvement – set challenges and competitions, with spot prizes for employees who have provided feedback or who have up to date processes. Or start a quiz or treasure hunt where staff can find the answers embedded in processes.

For more ideas, check out our summary of the Top 10 Creating & Retaining Engagement Ideas from all 4 of our User Summit Events.

Consistency beats brilliance

At the end of the day, unleashing a culture of unstoppable improvement doesn’t require a revolutionary approach. With a few basic steps applied consistently, the results can be phenomenal – it’s about leadership from the top and acknowledging, encouraging and facilitating involvement from every level of business. After all, consistency beats brilliance most of the time – and that’s what we’re seeing here.

If you’d like to learn more about process improvement, check out our other blog posts or jump on one of our weekly webinars!

 


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