Ask any personal trainer and they’ll tell you that your core is the foundation of your body’s strength. With weak abdominal or back muscles, your overall strength can be undermined, or worse, you’ll be more likely to suffer strain and injury.
It’s the same for a company – process is the core of your business. If you have strong processes, your people and systems can work together in harmony - efficiently and effectively. With a weak process culture, organisations need to work much harder to achieve the same outcomes, putting a strain on day-to-day operations and leaving room for errors. Worse, they’ll find it difficult to operate in an agile and responsive manner, making it tough to develop or maintain a competitive advantage.
How strong are your processes really?
People and technology are tangible aspects of any business. Process is less visible, which is why it’s often assumed to be functioning effectively as business carries on day by day. In fact, weak processes could be critically impairing your company’s ability to fully leverage other investments.
How do you know if you have a weak process culture?
- Are each of your teams working independently and doing things their own way?
- Have you made significant investments in technology and people, but all you have to show for processes are some ignored documents on the g:drive?
- Is there a go-to place for processes that everyone knows about?
- Process owners - can they easily track and update the processes they own? Do you even have clear process owners?
- Is your process knowledge considered helpful?
With a weak process culture, you could be relying on informal IP transfer to bind your operation - leaving staff to just figure things out on their own.
Protect and boost your ROI
Getting back to the fitness analogy, when your core is strong you get fewer injuries and you’re able to accomplish more. In the same way, when your processes are clear and accessible, you’ll be able to reduce errors, increase efficiency, improve customer service and inevitably, get a better ROI on change projects.
With each investment in change (whether it be technology, a product release, or a new team capability), without a strong process core you may see benefits squandered. Even worse, those ‘injuries’ that crop up are blamed on technology or teams when in reality it’s a lax attitude to process that is the real cause.
Help your staff perform at their best
Strong processes can support and empower your staff. Armed with clear, accessible process knowledge, people are better equipped to achieve required outcomes – and they’ll also have a platform to collaborate on improvement opportunities. It feels good to have a voice and be heard as a process participant - “We’re having problems with this new process. I think we need to change this element.” - knowing that the Process Owner can reply directly, and coordinate a response themselves.
So, next time you’re considering making an investment in technology or in people, first, consider your core. Are your processes strong? Strengthen your processes and your whole business will thank you. You’ll leverage more from your people and systems, and unlock greater value and benefits for your business and for your customers.