Kaizen. Lean. Yellow, green and black belts. It's enough to put you off reviewing your processes for good. As in all our work, here at Lucidity we take a simpler approach to enhancing the way you do your business. And we're sharing that approach with you in this blog series. So sit back, relax, and prepare to begin your journey towards continuous improvement.
There are many different definitions of process review and continuous improvement. So, before we go any further, it's worth sharing what we mean by these terms. First, we take a business process to be any series of activities that enables you to complete a task, starting with a particular input and ending with a particular output. Reviewing these processes is usually a formal activity that involves capturing and evaluating each step in detail. For this to work effectively, it should sit within a culture of continuous improvement - an informal and ongoing consideration of how to do things better. Reviewing individual processes is the first step on the way to realising the business benefits that come when you develop a culture that is always on the lookout for improvement.
If you're like the vast majority of organisations, you'll no doubt be able to find at least one process that doesn't work quite as well as it could. In fact, if we're honest, most of us can identify more than one. For some reason, many businesses just put up with it. But why? Inefficient and ineffective processes cause frustration, delay, and sometimes money. In contrast, getting your processes right - and keeping them working - frees up time and other resources, puts your customers first, encourages innovation, and gives your staff more job satisfaction. And it will help with that all-important mindset.
We think part of the problem is that people are daunted by the challenge of continuous improvement. Business processes can seem like a big tangle. The tools required to untangle them often seem like too big a hurdle for most organisations to take on. And once you've looked at one process, how do you keep on reviewing, enhancing and innovating AND delivering the day job?
In short, it doesn't have to be that difficult. We've found that most organisations have all - or nearly all - the right building blocks. It's just that they're not necessarily in the right order! And that's why we're here to help. We've developed a straightforward approach to reviewing your processes and building a culture of continuous improvement, which we've honed over the years as we've worked with different clients.
Our approach breaks process review down into six simple steps, each of which we'll explain in this series of posts. Our method means we can involve the right people from the start so that we can build a shared understanding of what is needed and then test different ways that the process might be improved. Clients have used this approach to to save time and money and to create new ways for their staff to get involved and get innovating.
If you're interested in a straightforward way to improve your business, make sure you come back for our next post, where we'll explore how to identify your process users. Until then, spend some time prioritising your processes so you're ready to start with your review.
If you need specific guidance on your business processes, then please get in touch. We can provide bespoke consultancy or training so that your team can develop the skills they need to review processes themselves.