May 09, 2021
Michael D. Wilson
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Business leaders are on a constant lookout for ideas and tips to improve business processes. In this article, we curate a list of five tips from CEOs that will help you improve your business processes.
Improving your business processes is an overwhelming exercise. Even looking it up on Google for tips on how to get started will make you completely perplexed.
First, come the digital advertisements of top-rated BPM software tools and process consultants. Then there are strategically written articles on practical guides and tips to improve your business processes - all scrambling to get the top spot on your search engine!
Not that we are an exception. We have one such article which you might find helpful, just in case you need it!
But in this article, we thought of doing something different. So, we curated a list of top five tips on improving business processes from CEOs and business leaders just like you!
These are people who have done it and know how it all works. These tips will give you a headstart in the right direction, and help you avoid some common mistakes in process improvement.
So let's get to it right away.
These tips are based on interviews and conversations with the CEOs and what they think is important while improving your processes. We also add a little something of our own to help you infer these tips and quotes.
Use these five tips to improve your business process efficiency and effectiveness, just like the pros did it!
Think About Doubling Your Process Outcome
Kyle Hermans, CEO at Be Courageous, a business digital-first consulting firm, shares an interesting thought. He suggests that while improving your processes, you ask yourself and your team - if you had to double what you are doing right now in your process, how would you do it and how would your current processes support that?
The answers to these questions help you figure out opportunities to improve your existing process workflow. Maybe you realize that doing a task differently might save more time, or removing a certain team member from the process may clear the bottlenecks.
Let us take an example of your email marketing process. If you want to double the click rate in your email marketing process, what would you do differently? You would A/B test your email content, segment your database better, and promote valuable content.
Just one single question can open the window for so many opportunities to improve your email marketing process. This is why the next time you think about improving your process, you take a page out of Kyle's book and ask yourself - if I had to double what I am doing right now in my process, how would I do it?
Focus on the process outcomes, not just the process workflow
“If you’re not watchful, the process can become the thing. This can happen very easily in large organizations. The process becomes the proxy for the result you want. You stop looking at outcomes and just make sure you’re doing the process right,” - Jeff Bezos, Amazon
A process is defined as a set of tasks, actions, and workflows, all designed to achieve an outcome. Usually, the best possible way to achieve an outcome is labeled as a process. We keep repeating the process since it is identified as the most efficient and effective way to achieve the outcome.
But what happens when the process becomes so monotonous that there is no room for change or improvement? Bezos rightly points out that oftentimes in large organizations, the process workflow is so comforting that even if the outcome no longer suffices customer needs, employees tend to continue with the process as is.
In this case, the company and the employees focus so much on doing the process right, that they forget the bigger picture of satisfying customers with the right outcome. This is why you need to focus on improving the process in a way that contributes to the process outcome and not just the process tasks and the teams.
Keep your processes flexible
One of the most popular CEOs of the digital age, Elon Musk, says - 'The problem is that at a lot of big companies, the process becomes a substitute for thinking.'
What does this tell us? It tells us that as leaders we should ensure that even though everyone follows the process, they should be on a constant lookout for better ways to do it. This can only be possible if your processes are flexible.
When you build flexible processes, you leave room for improvement and change.
Build Trackable Accountability
Chris Cashin, CEO & Co-Founder at Parcel Consulting LLC, makes an excellent point about how it is important to track the accountability of your process and its elements.
He says, 'At the end of the day, we’re all accountable. I like to lead by example and make myself just as accountable as my employees are. I’ve found that by using the right systems, we can track employee progress as well as have the means to review processes, target due dates, and accountability.'
Processes have complex workflows and involve multiple teams carrying out various tasks. To improve your process, you must know who is doing what, and how effectively they are doing it. And this can be concluded only when you can track the accountability of your teams.
Eliminate process tasks that don't add value
'Process tasks that don’t add quality to your process outcome are a waste of time, energy, and ultimately, money.' - Michael D. Wilson, Processology
Michael points out an important step in improving your processes - to weed out process tasks that don't add any real value to your process outcomes.
Many times, bigger teams or organizations have well-established process tasks that are being carried out for years. While improving such legacy systems, it is important to review the process tasks and evaluate their contribution to the overall process outcome.
If any task does not serve the purpose of the process, it is just delaying the process and wasting valuable time and resources.
Learning from other people's experiences and mistakes is always a good idea. Keep these five tips in mind for when you are improving your businesses, and stay ahead of the curve. Need more insights on improving your processes? Talk to our process experts today.
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