Magic happens when an entrepreneur combines creativity with effective people management and process excellence. However, if you are like many entrepreneurs, you probably cringe at the thought of process management. Entrepreneurs are the “idea guys” and are most likely good with people, but when it comes to process, it’s a different game all together.
If this statement resonates with you, there is good news. Process does not have to be extremely complicated or mundane. I’m a firm believer in Pareto’s Law – doing 20 percent of the effort can produce 80 percent of the benefit. Process management can also be easily delegated.
I have illustrated this point during numerous coaching sessions while working through a client’s business challenge. As a client begins to discuss a challenge, I ask him or her to use the white board to walk me through the process related to the challenge. In less than an hour, two things typically happen. One is clarity and the other is process improvement. Clarity helps the entrepreneur understand the root cause of the challenge and helps us identify solutions that may involve personnel change/training, process re-design or new technology.
Quality and Consistency
With a documented process, you have a standard for your employees to follow. Following a process ensures the same results are achieved time after time. The outcome is not dependent on an employee’s skill set or acumen, although you do have to make sure an employee has the ability to follow the process and be intuitive enough to provide suggestions for improvement.
Processes not only improve production efficiency, but also decrease the time it takes to on board new employees. Documented processes provide a basis for training new employees. Without this documentation, it takes longer for new employees to learn the ropes and requires another individual to spend more time training new hires.
Processes create systems that can be managed without the day-to-day involvement from business owners or key leaders. This is one reason why many franchise systems have been so successful. The franchisor has documented a proven way to operate and provides franchisees a playbook to execute.
The 10x companies described in Jim Collins’ book Great by Choice outperformed their competition because of their ability to scale. The ability to scale is more important than the ability to innovate when it comes to profitability. Scalability requires a well-defined process that is easily repeatable.
Micromanagement is a common problem in many organizations. One of the root causes of micromanagement is the lack of process documentation. If you have a process that clearly documents tasks and responsibilities, a manager should not have to micromanage unless they he or she has the wrong person in the seat.
We have found it fairly easy to delegate the process management to functional leads. Functional leads are asked to identify the most common processes and document the key steps in each process.
Fortunately most applications used today have built-in user help functions and tutorials so there is no need to document all the details for each process. Just make sure you highlight the primary steps and notate the person responsible and the application used to support the process. For example, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications support your sales and customer service processes.
Cornerstone Business Advisors provides access to experts in business strategy, management, process and finance. The Cornerstone team includes former C-Level executives, successful entrepreneurs and advisors who offer unmatched experience in delivering advanced, custom-tailored, results-oriented solutions for business leaders. Cornerstone has worked with hundreds of companies that range from fast-growth start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations. It developed the Performance Culture System™ to help clients implement best practices and drive high performance throughout their organization. For more information, visit http://www.launchgrowexit.com, call 910-681-1420, or email [email protected].
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