Process Problems – The Biggest Issue Impacting Business Performance

According to a study done by Tolero Solutions, “an overwhelming 60 % of people said poor processes were the biggest frustration impacting their business performance and satisfaction at work!”  This is a significantly large number and one that should alarm any Business Owner or Leader wanting their business to be successful.  Process is obviously how we accomplish anything.  Understanding your processes is a crucial step to ensuring successful business performance. 

I find a surprising number of business leaders who think they understand their process only to discover that the process is not what they thought.  Processes break down; they change without considering the impact and all to often employees who are the process don’t understand how their part of the process fits into the bigger business picture.

So what can you do?

Let us first understand the cost of poor processes.  Some studies suggest that poor processes, another term for inefficiency, can cost a business 20-30% in revenue every year.  When you understand that this is the cost, then you better understand why having a clear picture of what your processes are, how efficient they are, and knowing what to focus on to make them more efficient, becomes more clear.  The unfortunate “other side to this” is that even when companies do understand their processes they don’t try to make them better.

Commonly businesses don’t work on improving their processes because:

1.    They don’t know how

2.    They think the process is too hard

3.    There is a subliminal fear of what they might find out or learn.

Yes, fear of knowing the truth will sometimes stop a business from improving its processes.  One can easily forgive numbers 1 & 2, but the 3rd reason has often baffled me.  In reality, I find that the reason within this reason is that the Business Leader or Owner realizes that the process their favorite employee or family member is performing adds no value or takes value away.  Another is that it could well be a process the owner or leader designed themselves and while they intuitively know it is flawed, gathering facts that prove it is flawed is embarrassing to them.  So they don’t do it.

“…fear of knowing the truth will sometimes stop a business from improving its processes.”

For those who want to improve their processes, they will find great benefit not only in their bottom line but also in areas of performance and productivity.  The simplest way to address process problems is to involve your people.  Those individuals who are performing the work are in a good position to address the process you are reviewing.  Getting them involved in this also helps with managing the change that should inevitably come from your process review.  If you feel unqualified or underskilled and don’t wish to facilitate this, then an outside 3rd party is an ideal solution for addressing your process concerns.  This has the added advantage of their not being protective of current methods and can manage around the “this is how we’ve always done things here” mindset.

Once you’ve completed one process mapping and improvement effort, you will begin to see the value to your business of addressing more of your processes.  This should never be a one and done effort, rather, it should be an ongoing part of your business efforts.