Part TWO of TWO

“A process is only as strong as its weakest think.”

  • Make sure all your process improvement activities are clearly and tightly linked to your strategic imperatives. Each effort should also have highly focused and specific improvement goals (that are an aggressive, major stretch) and measurements. Establish feedback and follow-up steps for each process management and improvement team.
  • Keep everyone educated and updated on all your process improvement activities. Make it all as transparent and widely available as possible. Reduce apathy and resistance by increasing your education and communication efforts.
  • Don’t let specialists and consultants do theoretical reengineering in isolation and then launch it into the organization. A national retailer hired high priced consultants to reengineer their logistics (ordering, warehousing, shipping, and invoicing) process. The new process made sense on paper, but those who had to make it work felt cast aside. Since they didn’t own the new approach, it wasn’t too hard to “demonstrate” that the consultants’ process didn’t work.
  • Reengineering is becoming the new mantra for frustrated strategic planners who are putting this new label on their old ineffective approach. Elite groups of senior managers, hands-off staff people, technology specialists, and assorted experts study, analyze, and plan major changes. With more focus on theoretical planning than implementation, they go for big breakthroughs with radical organization changes and major investments in sophisticated technology.
  • Getting wide scale involvement in mapping out and dramatically improving (or developing a consensus to radically redesign) the existing process is seen as too slow and not bold enough. But those theoretical changes generally prove to be impractical in the real world. And those who aren’t involved in planning the battle, can be counted on to battle the plan. This elitist, expert, planning-driven approach rarely works.
  • Don’t develop your own internal, home-made version of process management. We’ve seen too many poorly designed attempts at process management. Designing your own makes about as much sense today as trying to manufacture your own computer system or write your own software programs. Like information technology, the management science of process management has come a long way in a few short years. It’s become an extensive field onto itself (hundreds of books are now available on various aspects of the expanding topic).
  • A multitude of well-researched and designed process management training packages and consulting services is available. However, like an information technology system, process management packages and services do need to be tailored to your unique needs. And you need to develop the internal expertise to support and continue evolving your process management technology with your consulting firm’s help.
  • Successful process management demands prioritization, organization, discipline, and a systematic approach. How’s yours? You can’t build a team or organization that’s different than you are. Undisciplined and disorganized managers can’t build disciplined and organized teams.
  • Process management is an invaluable part of disciplined management systems and using technology effectively. Reengineering and incremental process improvements can have such a profound impact on organizations, that many managers focus almost exclusively on these powerful tools and techniques. But experience clearly shows that if process management isn’t well integrated within a larger improvement effort, it will eventually wither and quite likely die. That bigger picture includes Context and Focus (vision, values, and purpose), pinpointing customer/partner performance gaps, exploring, searching, and creating new markets and customers, innovation and organizational learning, establishing goals and priorities, and extensive Improvement Planning.