Many organizations are making major investments in external branding. But often less attention or investment is made in improving the organization’s internal effectiveness.
If frontline staff isn’t living the brand, customers’ raised expectations are dashed and their anger and cynicism grows. One of the biggest reasons frontline staff can’t live the brand is because operational, service, order fulfillment, and other processes aren’t aligned.
When I suggested to one group during a leadership team retreat that they need to map out their badly flawed order fulfillment process, they told me that had already been done. I asked who facilitated the project. We all managed to keep a straight face when they replied that the software vendor had helped them. And — coincidentally — the vendor had just the technical solution to “help” them! It was a disaster and brought the company to its financial knees.
Here are some keys to strategic process improvement:
- Operate in a data-rich environment with lots of visible data, such as; diagrams, charts, and graphs for everyone to quickly identify issues, opportunities, and progress.
- Use outside experts to teach and guide internally owned and operated strategic process management. Don’t let specialists, consultants, or software vendors do theoretical process re-engineering or improvement in isolation and then slam-dunk it into the organization.
- Look for chronic problems that you’re continually “fixing.” These generally indicate that you haven’t drilled down deep enough to the root causes and/or they are symptoms of broader process problems.
- Make process management part of a broader improvement planning infrastructure and process.
- Does your internal environment have high enough levels of trust and teamwork to support involved process management?