(Time to read this article is about 60 seconds)
Creativity and innovation are ‘hot topics’ right now, and I applaud that. But, in the end, it’s boring, unsexy ‘process’ that actually gets things done. Even ‘creativity’ is often a process. Sometimes it’s just dumb luck or a sudden flash of brilliance…but, often, it’s a process.
Most successful companies have developed a disciplined and consistent process’ that delivers a stream of innovative products, well-trained and highly engaged employees, 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 each morning.
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…
1. An effective and well-communicated sequence of activities,
Supported by the necessary resources,
- 3. Designed to deliver a consistent, efficient and effective result,
- To a specific standard.
OK, so it’s not so simple. But that’s what a process is…and there are no shortcuts. Re-read the definition above and, while you’re at it, rate your business’ performance, on a scale of 1 to 10, on each of the four elements. Then, using that info, determine what needs to be done to improve the processes in every part of the business.