Are You Stuck In A Box?

By Robin Stevens, Internal Operations Coach

I was recently on site at a very successful company that was struggling in the everyday process of getting paperwork done in an effective manner and they knew it, but because they were so busy in the day to day processing it made it very difficult to make time to think outside the box. We were very successful in implementing a new process that produced immediate results and gave everyone what they needed by 10:00 am in the morning. I was able to do this because I was not stuck in their box. I was able to observe their process from start to finish and asked a lot of questions.

You can’t just think you know how your process works, you need step out of the box and observe all steps, understand each step and asked questions. Sometimes you will find that people have taken it upon themselves to add steps to the process making it inefficient and causing a delay in the process. You also need to look for those steps that people are doing “JUST BECAUSE”. That is where you will find the most wasted time.

When reviewing any process it is important to see if you are managing from the 90-10 rule. What you will find is some people are focused on the 10% and keep adding additional processes that bury people in paperwork and unnecessary tasks. There are always going to be things that slip through once in a while, but the less complicated the process the better.

Here are some steps to consider when implementing changes.

Make a list of what is not working in the current process and why. If you don’t understand that how can you implement a new process?

Meet with your team to see what changes they may like to see in the process. I am sure they will have input.

Understand the scope of the change, including: How big is this change? How many people are affected? Is it a gradual or radical change?

  • Make a list of changes you want to implement and the benefits of these changes.
  • Put together a step by step plan as to how these changes will be implemented.
  • Set reasonable goal dates for each step in the process.
  • Meet with your team to go over final changes and to get their feedback.
  • Take action and implement plan.
  • Monitor the new process and be available for questions.

With any change it is important to recognize and celebrate your success during the implementation process and address any concerns immediately.

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