“My people work really hard. Many of my top managers stay up late and then take their laptops home. But somehow we are not turning out any superlative performance. Our customers think we are ok type. Our employees…the other day I overheard one of our bright team leaders say -Oh! forget what the client says. Listen to your boss.. I was shocked. I do not understand…”
Somewhere deep in her mind the CEO knows something is not right. Many things may not be right. But there is always the next meeting, the next budget, the next forecast, the next report, and the explanations to be given.
Why do your top managers have to slog? Why do your brightest people appear to have given in?
There are more than one factors behind all this. But I think there is one factor which is almost always there. And one can always get down to doing something about it.
This factor is your business processes.
Now when was the last time you used this phrase? During the ISO 9001 or CMM audit? While pitching for a deal? Or while waxing eloquent on the “learning process”?
What if you take this ‘processes’ thing more seriously and actual start getting a fix on them by
-defining some key business processes e.g. client acquisition, order fulfillment, recruitment (call it talent acquisition if you feel better that way), complaint resolution, product creation etc. Your gut feeling will tell you which are the top two or three vital processes for you as of now.
-fixing some process performance parameters, guess current values, and fix a goal
-appointing some as process leaders and form a team of players
-give them powers and resources to run and to improve processes
-ask your top managers and experts to step back and provide support when needed or take direct process responsibility as process leaders
-review process performance and improvement actions in routine management reviews (you can leave out many other review points)
It is not easy. But if you stick to it you will be amazed to find performance going up and yes, good (talented) people and not so good people will get marked. Many borderline cases will improve and you will know what to do with the remaining minority.
Process management provides your leaders powerful levers to for shifting gears for future. It makes them leaders.