What is Process Improvement?
Updated: Nov 17, 2020
Now that we know what a process is, let's talk about process improvement, the art of taking a good hard look at a process, and coming up with ways to make it better. Here's where having an outsider's perspective really comes in handy. Often, a company's owner and employees are just too close to be able to see a process objectively. They understand that something in the process is 'broken' or 'stuck' (and maybe they've lost a few clients, dropped a few balls, or have stressed out employees), but they're usually too deep in the weeds to be able to see the full picture of why a process is going wrong.
This limitation starts to become clear (even if it wasn't at the beginning of the discovery) once I start asking, "Why?". As in, why do you do this step, at this point? Why does X hand the deliverable off to Y? Why do you log the data in manually to your CRM, and then again to to Quickbooks? Why, why, why. It's amazing what you find when you go down that rabbit hole. Commonly heard answers include, "This is how we've always done it", to "This what I did when I started the company, 6 years ago, and it stuck", to "I have no #&%$ idea". Great news! If there's no true rationale for doing something a certain way, then you've got carte blanche to find a better way. And there is always a better way. (Which, incidentally, is the slogan of the Toronto Transit Commission.)
To go back to my dog-walking example from the previous post, I knew I had a problem when it came to walking my puppy, Cleo, but I wasn't able to pinpoint the precise nature of what was wrong. Walking her was so unenjoyable that I had started to dread taking her for out. It took an expert trainer 5 minutes of observation to tell me what I was doing wrong, and how to fix it. Five minutes! Now that's a life-changing consultation.
I can't promise to fix all your process problems in five minutes, but I do offer free, no-obligation, 20-min. consultations. Book one here if you'd like some quick help.