I’m often asked how we do what we do. How do we consult with a company, battered by its trip through the Business Storm Cycle, to help put its people, processes, and technology back together?
First, we sit down with all the departments – R&D, operations, production, and the back office – in one big room, to go through every single process they are using in each and every department. We talk about what works and what doesn’t. Our goal is to optimize those processes regardless of the technology that we had in place. We are looking for the most efficient and most secure outcomes that maximize people’s ability to work on strategic things rather than urgent things.
To find what we need, we go through every department’s processes, including things as small and mundane as creating an invoice or procurement to pay. We talk about the processes in place for on-boarding and off-boarding people. We discuss things as boring as the order procedures used for buying a piece of software. We bring the best of process methodology to the table because we want to make use of every possible insight or idea that can help us discover how to carry out business in a much better way than has ever been done before.
At the same time, we want to be sure we understand the business reasons behind any process decisions we make. If we can reapply what we are learning, we won’t have to do so much work when it comes time to choose the software and technology we needed to integrate everything. IT has to be at the table as we moved through this transformation, otherwise, we’d end up trying to cram together IT and processes that aren’t actually compatible. We know we need to get people involved – and keep them involved.
Here’s an example of the sort of breakdown we might spot while going through the process: a company that’s getting into a new market is unable to share information about that market with their operations team before they get the work. They’re ending up with people who are being slowed down by a learning curve, but all this could have been prevented if they had the process and IT support to get them this information ahead of time.
Our assessment process is both wide and deep – it takes time, and it takes expertise learned through experience. But when it’s done, the broken legs of the business triangle – people, processes, and technology – are back in alignment, and the company is ready to soar again. See where your business is in the Business Storm Cycle, take my assessment here.