I have boundless enthusiasm for processes, as anyone who knows me will testify. It’s got nothing to do with being a control freak (I’m not) or liking order and things in their place (OK, I do like that). The reason I’m such a champion of The Process, is because it’s liberating. I know, that will surprise a lot of people, especially employees.

Processes free you up, they really do. They encourage you to be agile so you can react to events and circumstances as they change. Processes give you the space to find your Bigger Picture so you get more time to be proactive, spot and seize opportunities. That’s when processes make you profitable.

Admittedly, this isn’t the experience of every business. I come across processes that don’t work because they’re too rigid or just plain wrong. Instead of improving the bottom line, poor processes take up even more resources through wasted time, mistakes and frustration. When this happens employees – naturally – do their best to wriggle out of them. There’s a corporate grumble of needing to “get on with their job!”. And that’s what processes should be doing – making the day job easier, faster, more satisfying…

The concept of pressing a button and ta-dah! it’s done, isn’t unreasonable. When you put the necessary background work in – scoping, mapping and testing the whole thing – you can then trust the process, whether it’s manual or automated.

Consider the process of making a cup of tea: fill the kettle, bag in mug followed by hot water, then milk and sugar. Hold on…do you take sugar? What about milk – dairy, soya? The process has to be flexible and accommodate how people like their tea. So, if making the perfect mug of tea is an important process to get right, how about those that help your employees do their job? (Trust me, the principle and approach is the same.)

So what goes into the high-performing process? It starts with asking a lot of ‘What Ifs’. Who’s best placed to answer such questions? Your staff, the people who get involved in the day-to-day.

Our use of automation and AI is increasing, yet the experience isn’t always a positive one. How many times have you shouted at an online service that doesn’t offer you the right options but simply makes (wrong) assumptions about you? Only if we ask the right questions and explore various scenarios will we get better at building the processes behind automation.

Good processes don’t just speed up the day job; they’re key to you addressing your business growth problems.. They’re proof that you’ve thought it all through, that you understand how to deliver the very best to your customers. No wonder, I’m a tireless campaigner for high-performing processes…

If Wendy’s thoughts have got you thinking, you may like to read this related article.

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