Do you have a single point for failure in your business? As a business grows, so does its complexity, creating more opportunities for “break-downs.”
Here are the five steps to follow:
#1) For one week, observe and document everything (yes, everything, including lunch) that you do. Have your employees do the same. Let your employees know this is not about their performance, it is about improving the company workflow…Be completely honest on how time is spent.
#2) Review the logs. You will be amazed at what you really do, compared to what you think you do. Does only one person know how to do specific things? Identify area(s) for improvement.
Start slow, no need to overhaul all in one day… Brainstorm with others possible improvement ideas; examples include:
Develop and schedule multiple processes instead of one large complicated one.
Smooth the workflow by moving steps closer together or minimize handoffs.
Find and remove bottlenecks.
Synchronize or do tasks in parallel.
Standardize (create a formal process or system)
Develop operational definitions to improve communication.
Give people access to information.
Reduce de-motivating aspects of process or system.
Develop contingency plans.
#3) Develop new workflows / standards / systems from what was discovered with the Time and Project Task Logs and the Brainstorm session. Start slowly and begin to put the new into practice.
#4) Observe change(s) for one month. This may sound odd, but it is to make sure you measured and changed the right things. All changes have consequences, some unintended, so Step 3 is important to make sure the changes actually are improving an issue.
#5) Aa they like to say “rinse and repeat…” Review your observations and make changes (rinse way) where necessary. Continue to repeat steps 1-4 to document changes and track improvements, that which gets measured, gets improved upon.
“An empowered organization is one in which individuals have the knowledge, skill, desire, and opportunity to personally succeed in a way that leads to collective organizational success.”~Stephen Covey