Many managers are investing huge money in sales and marketing while blindly throwing money at technology and maybe a bit left over for training. Very little serious attention or investments are made in improving the organization’s effectiveness. One of the big imbalances these days is all the marketing money plowed into branding.

But if frontline staff isn’t living the brand, customers raised expectations are dashed and their anger and cynicism grows. One of the biggest reasons frontline staff can’t live the brand is because operational, service, order fulfillment, and other processes aren’t working. In too many cases, organizations have purchased software systems that just mess things up faster.

When I suggested to one management team during an offsite planning retreat that they need to map out their badly flawed order fulfillment process, they told me that had already been done. I asked who facilitated the project. We all managed to keep a straight face when they replied that the software vendor had helped them. And – coincidentally – the vendor had just the technical solution to “help” them! It was a disaster and brought the company to its financial knees.

    Here are some keys to strategic process management:

  • Operate in a data-rich environment with lots of visible data, such as; diagrams, charts, and graphs for everyone to quickly identify issues, opportunities, and progress.
  • Use outside experts to teach and guide internally owned and operated strategic process management. Don’t let specialists, consultants, or software vendors do theoretical process reengineering or improvement in isolation and then slam-dunk it into the organization.
  • Look for chronic problems that you’re continually “fixing.” These generally indicate that you haven’t drilled down deep enough to the root causes and/or they are symptoms of broader process problems.
  • Make process management part of a broader improvement planning infrastructure and process.
  • Does your internal environment have high enough levels of trust and teamwork to support involved process management?