As I sat down in front of this blank digital page with a completion deadline looming over me, I had no idea where to start. So I typed a title. Great, now I just knew the subject was something about the importance of processes. After a few minutes, a light bulb went off! I realized I needed a process to write a piece … on processes.
So, Why are Processes Important?
My colleague, Jerry Olson, spoke on the importance of identifying your company’s Core Processes in his July blog. This is an extremely important aspect of business as processes describe in detail how things get done. A continuous focus on making them better and more efficient determines how successful the outcomes will be. If you focus on the right processes, in the right way, you can design your way to success.
What’s the Purpose of a Process?
So far so good but what’s the purpose of a process? Can’t we each just figure it out and as long as the outcome is similar, call it good? You certainly can but we would strongly advise against that. One of the main purposes of process implementation is to provide consistency. A good process is like a checklist that ensures the right things get done by the right people at the right time. Processes greatly remove risk from both the business and your customer’s perspectives.
In addition, formal processes are especially important when they involve anything having to do with employee or customer safety, legal issues, financial considerations and other critical or sensitive functions. Other, more commonly used processes include product assembly, quality assurance, maintenance, invoicing, sales and customer service.
What Processes Could Help Your Business?
A process on how to write an article might be helpful, especially if you’re a part of the content creation world. Here’s what I put together to help me:
- Identify the subject
- Create a title
- Outline the content with sections explaining why, what, how, providing examples and a Summary
- Write one or two lines of text under each of the headings
- Complete sections with examples and dialogue
- Proofread! Don’t forget to do a spelling and grammar check!
- Copy and paste into the article destination
Though you may not be writing an article any time soon, you get the point. A process doesn’t have to be a five-page document. Sometimes, they are just a list of simple steps that must be completed in a specific order to achieve the optimal outcome.
What’s the Best Way To Implement a Process?
As part of our delivery, The Resultants help our clients map their core processes using the 3-Step Process Documenter™ to create a short process that can and will actually be used. The 3-Step Process Documenter™ is a simple tool that helps you work backwards from a desired outcome to define the major steps in the process.
Step 1: Identify. List the handful of core processes that make your business run. Typically, your list will look something like this:
- Customer Service
Give each process a name and make sure everyone in the company knows and uses the name.
Step 2: Document. Take each of those core processes and document them (1 – 10 pages maximum) in high-level outline form. Document 20% of the steps that yield 80% of the results.
Step 3: Package. Create a table of contents from the list in Step 1. Each process from Step 2 will be the contents. Now, collate them into one single binder or electronic folder. This becomes your company’s secret sauce or franchise prototype of your way of doing business.
If you find your company doing the same things again and again and having to constantly advise people on how to do it, it maybe it’s time to call it a process and formalize it.