Skip to main content

Don’t miss out process steps if you want to see results!

I was recently involved with a discussion on behalf of one of my clients with a marketing agency.

I was involved not because of my marketing skills, but because I knew the business well via their operational processes (and how they were aligned with their business plan and goals).

The discussion with the agency seemed to make sense for the first fifteen minutes, until I realised that we were in fact talking about two different things. I thought we were at the start of the process and they had decided that we were at the back end of the process.

It was like reading a book only to find out that someone had ripped out a big chunk of pages from the middle of the book. It was like we had skipped to the end.

Naturally this conversation had to be reversed and we both had to start at the beginning again. Time was wasted through confusion and frustration.

This is very similar to many improvement projects that I see (prior to my involvement of course!).

The project is planned out and chunks are missing. The expectation of how the team will get to the end is often unclear and as a result the time required to complete the implementation is grossly underestimated.

And, if you are looking for one place to identify where steps are often missed out (so that you don’t do the same thing too) check out the hand holding for the implementation stage. This element is often neglected when it comes to developing implementation plans. The final step might say training, and if you’re lucky include might include a support step too, but the time planned here is often way too low.

When you are implementing a new change you need to make sure that you stay with it until it is properly up and running; don’t walk away too soon or you risk having no results at all to show for your efforts.

Think about helping a child to ride a bike. If you stop helping them (by continually running behind them, holding the seat as required) before they have successfully gained the experience and confidence to ride on their own then they will possibly only learn to ride if they have the tenacity to keep trying despite the falls. Most kids need their Dad or their Mum to help them until they are ready to do it for themselves and the same is true in our businesses (and most staff don’t have the tenacity / persistence to keep going themselves in my opinion).

You’ve got to stick with the improvement until it is working and you can’t skip to the end.

Sticking with an improvement until the true end point is a behaviour that is often missing in businesses. Failed process improvement after failed process improvement is the risk you run if you don’t do this.

Are you guilty of jumping to the end too quickly when it comes to your improvement projects?


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.

Discover practical improvement strategies to drive up productivity for both you and your business. Access the free tools section here.

Popular posts from this blog

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? …

Continuous Improvement and the Five Legged Race

Many improvement projects need the buy in of several people before they can progress. Amongst these people there will be some that have a firm view of what needs to happen and are keen to make progress. Some of the people won't be sure and they will need more time. Other people might not be that interested and have other priorities they want to focus on.

None of this is wrong.

It is an observation of mine and one that I see repeat on a regular basis with the businesses that I come into contact with.

But, if we take the principle from the observation we have an interesting improvement strategy (one that I personally use when I get stuck with my client's improvement projects).

You might have worked out the approach from the title of this blog post, but it is analogous to a three-legged race (or four, five, nine...). If someone in the group moves in the wrong direction and / or at the wrong speed then the whole group falls over.


In the example I gave at the start it is no differe…

Do you have time to prepare (in order to become super productive)?

I had a funny conversation a few weeks ago with a team that was complaining about one of their colleagues spending 'ages' preparing their workstation within their factory. I meet a lot of people that spend too long preparing (and effectively procrastinating) so I was intrigued by their comment. It turns out that this individual didn't spend too long but rather his colleagues dived into their work without thinking through what the best way to work was...

The slower to start gentleman did in fact prepare his work area. He was also able to produce a far greater amount of work in the same time period because he had invested in a smarter way of working than his counterparts. The time spent preparing his working area was valuable and not overdone.

This example reminds us of the importance of the second S in 5S (set in order) and how workstation design is critical if we want to maximise the productivity of our teams. Whether this is a physical work area in a factory, the filing s…