Enough Process


Get Shift Done: Management

Most small businesses have too little process. Most large businesses have way too much.

Like Goldilocks, the secret is to get process just right — and to remember that what’s just right changes as the business grows.

Why have process?

There are three reasons:

  • to make things easier to do,
  • to help prevent things from being overlooked,
  • to achieve consistency — only when consistency is really needed.

Create new process only when one or more of these things is the objective.

Don’t get carried away …

It’s way too easy to create process just because you can, and to create more than you need.

Always ask why you’re creating process, and whether it’s really needed at this stage in the business’s development?

Be careful with bought in tools and process — they often include features that you don’t need, or want.

Selling the process

Processes only work when people use them — so you must be able to sell the benefits.

  • The best process always makes things easier — make this a feature and it will sell itself and establish with zero effort — it’s just the best way to do things!
  • Nobody likes to overlook what’s important, so give users ownership of this kind of process as a way to share best practice and continually improve — a checklist for example.
  • Achieving consistency is hard to sell — there needs to be a good reason — and if you can’t convince people then maybe the process isn’t needed.

Involve the users in the creation of process so that they feel ownership of it — perhaps delegate its creation.

Expect and embrace change

Try out the process on a small scale first, and when it’s rolled out, be open to making changes — tell people that you expect it to change as you learn about its flaws.

Established process can stifle innovation and prevent beneficial change.

  • Encourage people to think about what they’re doing and how they’re doing it, and to challenge and improve accepted practice.
  • Treat process as a moving thing — just the best way you know for doing something right now.

Points to take away …

  • The three reasons to create process — easier, overlooked, consistency.
  • Don’t get carried away — just enough, and no more.
  • If you can’t sell the benefits then it’s probably not needed.
  • Expect process to change — and welcome it.

Peter Cain enables business growth by helping companies to organise and to scale at www.anamosys.co.uk.


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