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7 Approaches of Doom for Process Improvement

Posted: 08/16/2012
7 Approaches of Doom for Process Improvement
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When it comes to improving the way a company operates, there can be many approaches to tackling the problems. However, when it comes to failure there are seven tried and tested routes that will fast-track you to failure.

Here they are:

#1: Diving into details without understanding the overall objective

The first thing that will need to be understood when going into process improvement is what the final goal is going to be. There will be little value to be had from rushing into a project and starting to change things without knowing what you are working towards.If people are going into detailed changes that are not working toward the underlying objective, it can represent a significant waste of both time and money in the project.

#2: Jumping to conclusions

To assume that you know where things are going wrong without looking deep into the issue can be a fatal mistake to a project.This can lead to targeting of the wrong area when trying to improve certain areas, and can often see the problematic part of a business' process left open to become even worse in terms of performance, leading to further issues down the line.Thorough analysis to understand the real "root cause" is critical.

#3: Not involving the right/relevant people in key discussions

The people who will be most up to speed when it comes to how different areas of any company works will be those in charge of the different departments as well as, more importantly, the people who are actually doing the work. To have process improvement meetings without bringing each of the relevant brains into the discussion can leave you with half-baked solutions and will make it difficult for you to get buy in when you do come up with a solution (see point #4). When everyone is present in key discussions, it means that they will be balanced, and that each area can be analyzed with the knowledge that needs to be afforded it to make sure they are fully dealt with.

#4: Forcing change on people

Forcing members of staff to make changes to how they operate can bring about resentment and a drop in productivity. With improvement measures, this could mean that they are not afforded the full support that they need, condemning them to failure.

Instead, it is better to gauge employee reactions and opinions before discussions and slowly integrate new ways of working over a period of time to make sure that the transition is both seamless and efficient, as well as being of benefit to the company.

#5: Assuming that it will be a quick process

Do you force change on people?

Satya S. Chakravorty writing in the Wall Street Journal likened process improvement to a weight-loss programme, saying: "They typically start off well, generating excitement and great progress, but all too often fail to have a lasting impact as participants gradually lose motivation and fall back into old habits."

It is important to make sure that everyone involved with changing the way a business works knows that it is not a quick fix, and that they will not immediately see results when the process starts. This can be a length project, and it is vital to have people on board who are willing to be patient and work towards a common final goal.

#6: Forgetting the follow through

When making a change to improve processes, it is important to follow up implementation to make sure that they are sustained. Where possible, measurements can be put in place to see how changes in process are affecting the way the business is operating to judge if it is worthwhile. It can also be vital to do checkups that make sure that staff are carrying out the new processes and not simply ignoring or bypassing them.

#7: Focusing solely on process

It’s not all about changing the process itself when altering the way that a company works.Taking into consideration the people that this will affect and in what ways it will do so is also important. Behavioural change should not be an afterthought - many people may be stuck in a way of working that they have done for years, so taking time to ensure they are adapting is crucial.

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