Improve Processes – Reason 1

Improve Processes – Reason 1

After thirty years of reviewing business processes, I have noticed that the most important part of improving a process is whether or not the people involved are only worried about their job and their convenience?  If you have employees that think and care about how their actions affect others, then you will have a much easier time identifying the points in the process that are causing you problems.  If you have employees that don’t think about others, you will need to spend more time documenting and analyzing your current process. You will have to spend much more time implementing any improvements that the staff does not want to happen.

With the implementation of a “mutual benefit overlay” to your process improvement methodology, you will identify your dedicated and quality workers…those workers that care about the company and others that interface with your company.

Mutual Benefit Overlay

A mutual benefit overlay to your process improvement strategy is documenting your process flow charts of how the work of each group of processes can affect other departments.  You can use a “swim-lane diagram” or a modified mind map to show these relationships.  Once you identify a process that has an impact on another person or department, you must gather addional information.  Not only must you gather addional, non-traditional information, you must develop a ranking for each of the following data that will be used in your “process improvement risk analysis.”

  • Are the people/departments involved aware of the connection between the two processes?  Your first impression would be, of course they know.  This is not always the case.
  • Do the people/departments involved care about the other group enough to make changes that may make their job more difficult?
  • What is the chance that the improvement can be implemented without buy-in from one or more of the people/departments involved?
  • Is there a modified improvement that can satisfy all the people/departments involved?
  • What is the impact of not improving this process?
  • What impact will the improvement have on a compliance basis?
  • What impact will the improvement have on customer satisfaction?
  • What impact will the improvement have on throughput?
  • What impact will the improvement have on the creation of top line revenue?
  • What impact will the improvement have on profit?
  • What will the improvement have on processes downstream?
  • Rate each employee and department on their ability and willingness to internalize the five attributes of mutual benefit

Seeing The Big Picture


Once you have your processes documented and have created your mutual benefit overlay, you will be able to identify the best way to implement your process improvement.  You will know if you need to train employees and managers on how their actions will affect others, if you have to remove employees, or if you will have to accept less efficient processes.

It is critical that you look at the whole picture with an understanding of how mutual benefit works and is being implemented in your company.  When you come across problems with employees buying into the mutual benefit philosophy, you must look at what may be influencing them.

  • are they worried about their job?
  • are they concerned that they will lose overtime and therefore not make as much money as their co-workers have before?
  • are your managers not creating an even playing field?
  • do your managers have their favorites?
  • are your employees scared to discuss improvements?
  • are your managers creating fear within their teams that is stopping improvement?
  • are egos involved?
  • is there negativity due to other changes that may have failed or caused more pain for them?
  • are they thinking of what is in it for them and either you have not explained the value or maybe you have not put enough value for the people in the change?


After your roundtables (see step 3 in this blog), process maps and mutual benefit overlay, it comes down to the senior management team seeing the big picture and being responsible for presenting that value and realizing what the expectations are.  This usually means more work upfront for the senior team which will pay off for the company, the employees, the vendors and of course, the customers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *