By Cathy Dew
If you’re like pretty much ever other multitasking business owner it’s hard to keep all the wheels in your organization spinning at one time, let alone take a step or two back to assess whether those same wheels are whirling as efficiently and effectively as they should.
As long as everything seems to be working, why reinvent those wheels?
The simple answer is because that’s how companies that thrive and grow operate. They constantly assess and reassess how their business processes are working. They look for gaps in productivity, seek out areas that are ripe for continuing process improvements, canvass for operations-related cracks that need to be filled so the needle can move forward in the direction of greater efficiencies that translate into bigger margins and higher profits.
5 Questions to Help You Decide If Business Process Support is For You
How have your business processes changed for the better? For the worse? Not at all?
Year after year, business workflows, processes, and procedures evolve and change. Competition, new technologies, and evolving best practices all take their toll on how companies function as established processes and procedures are overtaken by a jumble of disconnected workaround solutions that may leave staff working at cross-purposes.
Since these changes typically occur on a knee-jerk and piecemeal basis, rather than through any type of intelligent design, the result can be increased fragmentation getting you to a point where you find yourself trapped in a mire of right-hand-doesn’t-know-what-the-left-hand-is-doing situations.
- Each department winds up with its own way of doing the same or similar things—and fights to keep it that way
- There’s no motive for systemic change, as each manager/business process owner is focused on her own area of responsibility.
- Since everybody is so focused on keeping their own wheels spinning, nobody is thinking about how their team’s behavior affects the rest of the company
If any of this type of entrenched resistance to change seems familiar, you might consider bringing in a business process consultant to introduce a holistic approach to getting your systems (or wheels) back into alignment.
Are you seeing everything you need to see?
When’s the last time you stepped back and took a look at your company at a whole systems level?
- How much have your internal controls, procedures, and processes evolved and changed over the years? How far have they progressed from the original plan?
- If you designed your business processes today, would everything look the same? Or would you start from a different (and probably wiser) perspective?
- What would better systems look like?
It is hard to know if you’re seeing the big picture unless you step back and assess your organization as a whole. Do you have the time to do the painstaking, objective, evidence-based research and internal analysis to snapshot every aspect of your operations?
If the answer is “no,” you could use the help of a business process consultant.
Do you find yourself putting out the same fires, over and over?
It’s great to learn from mistakes. It’s better to have business process protocols in place so you avoid making those mistakes in the first place, or at least avoid their being repeated and then repeated some more.
Once business processes get to the point where they have taken on lives of their own, it’s easy to get stuck in a loop of flames, fire, douse, then repeat. Just ask yourself:
- Do your employees find themselves repeatedly implementing process corrections in a reactive manner?
- Has disaster avoidance become a way of life?
- Do your employees get sidetracked with issues that negatively affect their employee experience and productivity?
- Are you fighting an uphill battle trying to implement changes that will stick?
- Do you feel a constant sense of déjà vu all over again?
If the answer is “yes” to any of these, you might need a business process consultant.
Do people ask for help when they need it?
Business process owners and their team members have skin in the game. They have reputations to defend. They’re often locked into a group think culture that resists change. “I could do a better job” is a hard thing to face. “You could do a better job” is a hard thing to hear.
As a result, employees often hide problems from supervisors who might reach that conclusion. Supervisors would rather come off as self-sufficient problem-solvers than resource drains asking for more and better products, even if they would increase efficiency in the long run. It’s a lot easier to create and implement workarounds than to admit that a process could be broken.
An external assessment of internal processes can make necessary observations and recommendations, letting everyone who is doing the best with what they have off the hook.
Can you imagine what a meaningful business process review might uncover in your company?
Imagine taking a deep dive into your organization, a granular look at every business operation. Why does this job exist? How is it evaluated? How could it be better? Think about how communications flow, at every level, both internal and external. The reading list includes your employee intranet, your blog, your corporate website, and every email and memo.
Then consider your competitors, and your industry as a whole.
- How have best practices evolved in your field?
- Where is your industry going in the future?
- What’s disrupting old paradigms? What’s on the cutting edge?
- Where do you want to be in 2030?
Now picture having all the relevant information to redesign your business processes. How meaningful would this be for your company today, tomorrow and decades into the future?
If you know you could reap great benefits from this type of review, you are ready to consider hiring a business process consultant.
Why 2Plus2 is the Answer for Business Process Analysis and Optimization
At 2Plus 2, we’re accomplished strategists and whole systems thinkers with decades of experience reviewing and analyzing business process systems for clients of all sizes and types.
And we don’t just analyze and report. We solve problems. We are information architects, UI and UX designers, and intranet and extranet design and development providers.
To learn more about how 2Plus2 can help elevate your business processes, reach out to us online or call us today at 510-652-7700. Initial consultations are always free.