In the previous weekly newsletters during the summer, I have described steps for successful improvement work. One that truly moves the business from a current state that often has potential for improvement, to a vastly improved business that takes advantage of the opportunity to create better value in a more efficient and enjoyable way.
I have told you about three of the five phases of a successful improvement project:
- Planning and organising
- Mapping and understanding
- Vision and design
What do you know so far?
Well, you now have a solid plan to follow. One based on a basic understanding of the business; its purpose, its customers (whatever you call them) and their wants and needs, your processes, your organisation, and your business priorities.
Furthermore, you have selected one of the priority processes in the improvement plan and worked on it. You have a good understanding of how it works and doesn’t work. You’re on top of things. You know how many “cases” are flowing through the process and what times it takes, where the bottlenecks are and you know what you think should be addressed to create better value in a more efficient way.
And now you’re energised too, because through your creative work in shaping a vision and designing your process, you and your colleagues have had a glimpse of how great it can be. Your new vastly improved process will lift your business.
You also have a plan for implementation. And not least, you can demonstrate all the benefits your business will gain by moving the current process from its current state to your new, vastly improved state.
From design to workshop
Now you are entering the fourth phase; Develop and Implement. It is here that what you and you have dreamed of and designed will become a reality.
But oh how many people don’t make it this far. They stop at designing, or “mapping the process” as many call it. Then it thinks there will be change from that. But no, there will be nothing unless you also develop the process in a controlled way and introduce it into the business.
Guiding and supporting documents
By develop, I mean that you have to make sure that all the things that you want to be there become a reality. For example, the development of guiding and supporting documents, such as templates, procedures and examples.
Here’s a tip not to get stuck on the word “document”. Describing how to carry out different activities in a process does not have to be in written form. There’s a reason YouTube and Tik Tok have become so big, and that’s that video is in demand. Instead of writing a five or six page document, record a video in a minute or two.
Or create an audio recording. It doesn’t have to be professional level on any of them, but a simple, so-called screen cast, where you capture the screen and show where you want to convey is fine. Keep it simple and don’t make it harder than it is.
Then link the governing supporting “documents” directly to the respective activity in your flowchart. The information should be available where you need it.
Meetings are a big part of our daily lives
Another important point is to take the time to describe the meetings that take place in the process. As I described earlier, if you get control of your processes, you will also get control of 80% of your meetings. You should have a minimum of ad-hoc meetings. These are often only created to resolve issues and problems, which should not exist if you were in control of your value-creating flows.
Here you should identify these meetings and describe them with agenda, location, minutes, etc.
What are you delivering?
Another important part before putting the process into operation is to describe the “product catalogue” you have in your business. Many have no control at all that they actually have products that they deliver. You have made them clear when you mapped the present and designed the future. Now it wants to describe these products as well.
Products, by the way, are goods or services, or a combination of the two. You need to be very clear for your own sake, and of course for the sake of your customers, about what it is you deliver, how you deliver it and what it costs. That is your promise to yourselves and also to your customers.
Come back in next week’s newsletter for other important things to think about as you develop the process you really want to work with.
Another exciting education
I’ve previously told you about a course starting this autumn (see more below), but there’s also another one. It is the training How to succeed in your improvement work – 5 steps to make your work easier, more fun and more effective.
It is shorter and will be in mixed form; both with recorded material but also live.
Here we look at what is possible when you succeed in your improvement work. You will learn some important basic skills to succeed, but you will also learn about what it looks like in other organisations, both in Sweden and abroad. We will go through a variety of good examples. In addition, we will also take a closer look at what digitalisation is and can do to help us succeed.
Click here to sign up for the entry list. Of course, it is completely unconditional and you have not committed yourself to anything, but only said that you want more information.
Certified Improvement Leader
This autumn also sees the start of the next round of the Certified Improvement Leader training, which is now upgraded with the latest version of the Shaper of Business Excellence improvement methodology.
The first phase of five is to plan and organise your improvement work. The second is to map and understand the current state of the business for each priority process. And the third phase is to create a vision and design the future improved situation.
This phase consists in the new version of 24 steps, which I have explained in detail in this and the previous post.
Are you interested in learning more about how you too can succeed in your improvement work and how you could lead and drive this work? Then I think you should sign up for the entry list for one of the courses. This means that you will receive more information before it is released to “everyone else”. I will also be able to answer your specific questions about your improvement work.
So now there were many links to click on and register your interest:
For How to succeed in your improvement efforts, click HERE.
For Certified Improvement Leader click HERE.
I wish you a nice summer and I’ll talk to you next week.