“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.” W. Edwards Deming
Which of your processes could do well to be tweaked?
Back to Basic #1: “Start with Why” Simon Sinek
Back to Basic #2: “Get the right people on the bus” Jim Collins
Back to Basic #3: “Determine Your Strategy” Michael Porter
Back to Basic #4: “Right Processes” E. Edwards Deming
My last few weeks have been crazy-making. So many things happened over which I had no control – as if to remind me of Who is in control. The upshot of all this is that I realize how I need to tweak my processes, and get back to them. I’m a solopreneur and my business suffers when I’m not following my processes. Imagine what happens in a larger company!
What processes do you have in place? Can you explain to an outsider how things get done? Are your processes documented? If they aren’t, if you can’t, you don’t really know what you’re doing.
Let’s consider the various departments of any business:
- Do you have a process for generating new ideas? For evaluating the feasibility or viability of the new ideas? For implementing the ones whose time has come?
- What is your process for marketing your current product or service? Do you have a marketing plan? Are you following it?
- What is your sales process? Do you have a customer relationship management system? (Did you know it’s about 11 times more expensive to get a new client than to maintain a satisfied client?)
- How are your services or products produced? Do you have documentation so if you want to go on vacation or sell the business you can train someone to continue the work?
- How is your product or service delivered in a way that exceeds the expectations of your customers?
- What about all those non-billable activities that have to be done to keep the company alive and well, and yet don’t directly produce income??? And how often do you take time to evaluate the departments and their effectiveness
I’ve learned one thing this last 6 weeks: Right Processes make things go faster and easier and even with greater accuracy. Wrong processes or not following the processes also make things go faster but with disastrous results. As Peter Drucker wrote, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”
Word to the wise business owner, and the one who wants to be wise: Take time to examine your processes.
FYI:William Edwards Deming, October 14, 1900 – December 20, 1993, was an American engineer, professor, author, lecturer and management consultant. He is best known for his work with leaders of Japanese industries following WWII which resulted in the seemingly miraculous economic recovery.