Skip to main content

Can saying 'no' improve a process?

How many processes do you have in your business that you bend and twist, trying to accommodate the way people work?

I know of many businesses that feel this same frustration.

They design a process for their business, to improve how it works, and then find that no one uses it.

They do find that the intention is still there. They do find that some people do try to follow the steps of the process.

But, in my experience, the most common response given (in these situations) is 'we have to be flexible and that's why we can't run our process the way that we should'.

However, if you peel back the conversations that take place (aka Root Cause Analysis) you can often find that the input to the process is not correct:

  • People skipping initial steps because 'they're in a rush'.
  • Activities that aren't joined up, and create a stoppage within the 'official' process.
  • A lack of awareness of how you start the process in the first place.
Fix the input and often the process can then work properly.

It can take discipline to make this happen, but when the results start to come through (better performance, easier work life etc...) habits start to form and stick.

And, sometimes it means that you need to say 'no' to people:
  • No to skipping steps.
  • No to badly handed over parts of the process.
  • No to new members of staff being allowed to do their own thing (whether it is your fault or theirs).
Saying 'no' can make a big difference to how your processes work.



Giles Johnston
Creator of the 'Making It Happen' online course for improving personal change management skills.

Popular posts from this blog

Stop firefighting, start performing!

Another weeks passes and another example of unnecessary fire fighting demonstrated by a business I have been to help. If you have this taking place in your business, let me ask you a few questions: 1. What keeps on happening? Regain control with this practical book Can you pin down what it is that you keep having to do, to get out of trouble? If you can't, is there a pattern you can observe? 2. Do you want it to stop? Is it causing you enough of a problem that you want it to stop? If the answer is yes, keep reading, if not park it for another day. 3. Find out what is going on Do you know why you are having this issue? If you aren't sure where the issue is arising from, then take a few minutes to have a look around. When you have some idea, go to the next step. 4. Cause and effect Do you know what is truly causing the fire fighting situation? If you spend the time to get to the root cause of the situation , you have a good chance of permanently eliminating this situation. Most p

Kaizen improvements need to be specific

Do you find that your Kaizen improvements don't always go to plan? If you do, then you're with the majority! Whilst there is great deal of 'trial and error' there is a simple approach that can help. Available from Amazon Being specific about critical parts of your improvement can uplift your results. So, how do you go about doing this? The most direct route is to be clear about which parts of your improvement are critical. From here you can explain, in detail, what you want for those items. This might take some practice as many of us have become lazy in this regard. We take it for granted that our team 'get us' and will know what they need to do. If you ever feel that something basic is missing from an improvement ask this question: "What does good look like?" The answer should put you back on track. About the author: Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes and

Are your teams clear?

I have recently finished working with a team that were struggling. They were struggling to meet their production schedules. They were struggling to respond to customer enquiries on time. They were burnt out and frazzled. After some prodding and poking it became clear what their issues were. In particular, it became obvious that expectations of the team weren't clear or defined. Defining what you expect from teams is a standard management approach. The problem with most teams is that leadership describe the standards in vague terms . So, what happens if you get the standards crystal clear? You should expect to see the team produce the right outputs. They should produce the outputs at the right time. And, they should produce them in an agreed way. Be clear with your teams. Ask the question: What does good look like? If you want to get some more ideas on how to define effective standards and visions, get your copy of my book today . What does good look like? is a practical guide to h