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Execution - the key to making business process improvement realise its benefits

Yesterday I wrote about the importance of checklists and how they can help you to improve your on time delivery performance.

There is also a time to realise that you don't need to spend more time developing business processes.

There is a time when you need to step back and realise that your staff aren't following the existing processes and are, in fact, doing something else altogether...
This is the point when 'execution' beats 'thinking'.

I see lots of instances where this is the case. Effective processes have been drawn up, decisions have been made, instructions have been written... but nothing changes.

The strategies to design a good process and the strategies to implement a good process are not always the same.

But, it can be good fun...

Designing the process can be fun, intellectually challenging and a diversion from the other day to day activities taking place within the business.

Implementing the process can be difficult, argument inducing and confusing, at times.

I sat in a meeting last week and this topic came up. The management team were trying to come up with a new process to help their business' performance improve. They wanted some changes made to their existing ways of working to improve the start of projects (and hence the on time completion of the same projects).

I pointed out one thing to them...

They already have the processes mapped out, it was just that their staff weren't following the processes!

But, I had the same conversation the week before, and the week before that.

It is a common problem; in many cases it is easier to design a good process than to deliver a good process.

What can you do today?

And so there ends today's lesson(!). If you aren't making the progress that you would have hoped for and are spending time developing new and better business processes, with the original processes never having been fully implemented - STOP!

Take a look at how you deploy your processes and see if you can change your approach* here.

Today might be the day to do a little less designing and little more doing.


Giles




About the author
Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes.
Giles is also the author of Business Process Re-Engineering and creator of the 'Making It Happen' continuous improvement toolkit.


* If you would like some ideas on how to change your approach, try out Making It Happen. The first month is free ($7 per month thereafter) and it is designed to help you implement changes faster and more effectively into your business. You can find out more here.

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Want more time for your projects? Try the 'Hour of Pain'!

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Continuous improvement projects often fall foul of this. The day can become so inefficient through the constant stopping and starting that we only just seem to have enough time to get the 'day job' completed.

I was in a meeting last week where this same issue cropped up. It also cropped up today. It's nothing new, but it is still a pain in the rear!

So, let me share with you an approach that has worked for my clients - the 'Hour of Pain!'.

Where there is a (performance) gap there is a concern

I had a really good day yesterday working with a client's team.

The team has issues. Plenty of issues. Some are managerial issues, some are people issues and some are production issues.

When I first met the team they didn't know what to do with their issues, so I started by helping them to see more issues.

Issues everywhere, they didn't seem very impressed.

And then we captured the issues as 'concerns' into the tried and tested 'concern cause countermeasure' format and followed the process:

Concerns probed for root causes and root causes converted into countermeasures.
Soon they realised that some of their root causes dealt with numerous concerns and they gained momentum.

Yesterday we pulled another one of their processes apart and identified all of the gaps. The gaps became concerns and we fed them back into the process. Now they have a practical action plan (of countermeasures) to upgrade the process in question.

What do you do with your performance gaps? …

Free Continuous Improvement Guide

I have recently published a new free guide, with the title:
Six Quick Tips to Help Continuous Improvement Deliver Results Faster In the guide I share how to:
Use the continuous improvement cycle properly.Get projects moving, if they are slow to start or have stalled.Identify the 'biggest bang for your buck' when reviewing opportunities.Determine the level of change you need to achieve through your improvements.Flip staff grumbles and concerns into positive improvement actions.Increase the overall rate of progress on your projects. All of the tips are highly practical and are no-cost strategies.
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Enjoy reading,

Giles
About the author Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes. Giles is also the author of Business Process Re-Engineering and creator of the 'Making It Happen' continuous i…