“It is not Balance you need...

process-adaptability How are you ensuring your core processes are adaptable?

...but Adaptability”

One of the underlying benefits of this new reality is it provides a stress test for business continuity plans and the core processes that keep businesses moving forward. Based on what we are seeing, there is plenty of opportunity for process improvement as we now know what worked coming out of last year is likely not going to achieve desired results going forward!

Process improvement has two major moving parts. The first key part is how well the processes are documented. This is crucial as it provides a common set of instructions for the entire team, business and/or agency to follow. It also provides a baseline for any adjustments necessary when the underlying business conditions change. The second key part is by what methodology does the team, business and/or agency keep these core processes evergreen? In other words, how is each core process objectively reviewed to ensure it is still relevant and continues to achieve the desired outcomes and results? This new reality highlights the need to give both key parts more attention!

Going back to the title quote from Erwin Rafael McManus, core processes, or those that directly influence clients, donors and revenue, ultimately need to be adaptable. However, in the short-term, they need to be flexible enough to deliver the desired results in the moment. Let’s explore how process flexibility and process adaptability are both needed for sustainable results in this new reality.

  • Process Flexibility ~ As the new reality unfolds and eventually sets in (and it will), core processes need to flex as assumptions and business conditions evolve. Process flexibility implies being able to tweak and continue delivering desired business results in real time. It means behaviors are adjusted to restore some level of balance to the core processes in place. However, while this is necessary to keep processes relevant in real time, it is not enough for sustainable success.
  • Process Adaptability ~ Achieving sustainable longer-term success of core processes requires more than just short-term behavioral change. It requires change in both behaviors and attitudes toward the new reality in order for core processes to continue delivering desired results long after the short-term pain is overcome. Adaptability requires business leaders to not just alter the core processes, but to alter and adjust their mindset towards the new reality. Adaptability is needed for the organization’s very survival and transcends the value of flexibility!

 For those who may be taking advantage of the government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), here is an idea to address productivity for those on the payroll with limited business coming in. Our experience in facilitating process improvement efforts with our clients tells us that by engaging those who use the core processes every day in the process improvement efforts, it becomes a very effective team building activity. It is relevant, fully engaging and develops a sense of pride when the team presents its recommendations to senior management!

Several years ago, we wrote about how, according to Dr. W. Edwards Deming and others, 94% of issues within organizations are systems related and the responsibility of management. A related idea, also quoted by Dr. Deming is, “A bad system will beat a good person every time”. It is crucial then, during this evolution to a new reality, that core processes are both flexible in the short term and adaptable in the long term to achieve sustainable success!

How are you ensuring your core processes are adaptable?

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Thursday, 22 October 2020