(Time to read this Blog article is about 60 seconds)
Creativity and innovation are ‘hot topics’ these days…and so they should be. But, in the end, it’s boring, unsexy ‘process’ that actually gets things done efficiently, consistently and effectively. Even ‘creativity’ is often a process. Sometimes it’s just dumb luck or a sudden flash of brilliance…but, often, it’s a process.
In fact, most successful companies have developed a disciplined ‘creative process’ that delivers a stream of innovative products, more efficient operations, consistent quality, employee safety, increased sales and an amazing customer experience.
‘Process’ is what keeps airplanes from falling out of the sky. It’s what makes a Big Mac exactly the same in Montreal as it is in Moscow. Process is what gets cars designed, engineered and produced. Process is what allows a hotel chain to know that you want a non-smoking room on a low floor, near the elevator, with a king size bed, foam pillows and a USA Today at your door.
In fact, everything that happens between ‘intent’ and ‘delivery’ is process. As a business, you can have the best intentions in the world for your customers, your staff, for the environment and for your bottom line. But without clear, effective and well-communicated processes, these wonderful intentions will be just that…‘intentions’.
To quote the late W. E. Deming, the internationally renowned authority on quality and efficiency, “If you can’t describe what you’re doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.”
So, exactly what is a process, anyway? Simply put, a process is…
- An effectively communicated sequence of activities,
- Supported by the necessary resources and training,
- Designed to deliver a consistent, efficient and effective result,
- To a clear and specific standard.
OK, so it’s not so simple. But that’s what a process is…and there are no shortcuts. Re-read the 4 point definition above and, while you’re at it, honestly rate your businesses performance, on a scale of 1 to 10, on each of the four key elements. Then, using that info, determine what needs to be done to improve the processes in every part of your business.