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10 Principles to Optimize Your Business Results: Principle #9 – Processes and Capabilities

10 Dec

Processes govern every phenomenon in the physical world, from cell division to business divisions. And just as cells create organisms according to the plan written into their DNA, so do business processes proceed from a system design. The processes your business follows create the results the business produces. If you’re not happy with those results, you can always optimize those processes. You can also optimize your employees’ and teams’ capabilities that support those processes.

How do capabilities influence processes? There are two main types of capabilities we need to address. First let’s consider the capability known as domain expertise — the skills sets and talents needed to perform certain tasks. Hopefully you already have these resources on hand, but if not, you may have to look at how you make your hiring processes. The other type of capability poses more of a challenge, since you can’t just solve it through your HR department. Let’s call this other type collaborative capability — your team’s ability to work together efficiently and cooperatively. Nothing but time, experience and coaching can build this capability, because it’s based partly on the mutual trust that comes through shared experiences in a properly nurturing atmosphere. (Remember Principle #8?)

How do you know where you have effective — or ineffective — processes? In order to answer this question you have to be able to measure your processes.  An undocumented process cannot be measured, and an unmeasured process cannot be managed.

So, you have to document processes thoroughly. This documentation serves as your basis for ongoing monitoring and measurement of the process results and breakdowns, allowing you to make course corrections where needed. This ongoing procedural remodeling can have astonishing effects. I’ve seen one of my own clients add $1 million dollars to its profit as a direct result of measuring and adjusting its processes.

Do you have a million dollars’ worth of hidden productivity lurking somewhere within your existing processes? If so — go find it!

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