Experiences in the past few months are clearly trying to tell me to review the keys to process management in this issue. Problems with processes have featured prominently in a number of my workshops and management retreats. Much of the ongoing consulting and organizational coaching work we’re doing at The CLEMMER Group is currently centered on process management.

Many managers get very confused by accountability and communication. These are often symptom carriers of much deeper process problems. Only about fifteen percent of problems can be traced to someone who wasn’t conscientious enough or failed to communicate. But the last person to touch the process, pass the product, or deliver the service may have been burned out by ceaseless problem solving; overwhelmed with the volume of work or problems; turned off by a “snoopervising” manager; out of touch with who his or her team’s customers are and what they value; unrewarded and unrecognized for efforts to improve things; poorly trained; given shoddy material, tools, or information to work with; not given feedback on when and how products or services went wrong; measured (and rewarded or punished) by management for results conflicting with his or her immediate customer’s needs; unsure of how to resolve issues and jointly fix a process with other functions; trying to protect himself or herself or the team from searches for the guilty; unaware of where to go for help. All this lies within the system, processes, structure, or practices of the organization…

    Here are five key steps to strategic process management:
    1.Define key strategic processes with inputs from suppliers and outputs to customers.
    2.Map out how the process really works.
    3.Track and analyze process performance.
    4.Redesign the process to improve performance.
    5.Monitor, follow-up, and continue process improvement as appropriate.