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.”
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.
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.