Top 4 Reasons for Broken Business Processes

Broken processes create frustration for employees, customers, and even vendors, and suppliers. Here are the top four reasons for broken processes that appear during process mapping sessions.

1- Unmet Needs – It is important to know what is required by each person performing tasks within the process. Unmet needs create rework and delays in the process when team members are not provided with the proper elements (information, product, etc.) that allow them to complete their process tasks. The needs of each team member must be clearly defined to ensure process effectiveness.

2- Poor process communication – Considering most processes flow across departments – and even out to suppliers/vendors – communication within the process is critical to its success. It is important to identify critical communication points in the process, methods of communication utilized, and communication content. Poor process communication creates unnecessary delays, and employee and customer frustration – possibly leading to revenue decline as well as unnecessary employee turnover.

3- The process does not fit the current business status – When a company grows, quite often the processes are not updated to accommodate additional volume such growth may create. Bottlenecks are often the result when consideration is not given to infrastructure requirements. Once again delays appear in the process – which can lead to – you guessed it – employee and customer frustration. Process mapping allows one to identify adjustment opportunities that reflect new growth

4- Process results are not measured/monitored – Quite often, process performance is either not measured or not consistently monitored. It is a must to determine key performance indicators (KPIs) for critical processes – especially those connected to revenue generation and customer experience – then consistently monitor performance. Process mapping assists in the ability to determine what is to be measured within the process.

Consider these four reasons when building new or analyzing current broken business processes. The goal is to ensure your processes are efficient, and effective and meet the needs of all participating in or impacted by their performance.


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Haste Makes Waste Boy

“Haste makes waste boy.”

I heard this statement from my Dad a lot as a kid. I would often get in a hurry which usually resulted in me making mistakes. In one instance, there was a hole in a heater hose on my car. In my haste to change the hose, I created a bigger problem. Well, you know who shows up asking questions ( I guess that’s where I get asking questions from.) to gain an understanding of what created the situation that I now found myself facing. After determining that it was haste that contributed to the now bigger issue, he uttered that statement – “Haste makes waste, boy.” He wasn’t upset, wasn’t yelling (My Dad was the calmest person that I have ever known.) just said it in that low tone of his.

It eventually hit me that he was trying to get me to think things through before taking action. What is the situation? What steps are necessary for taking the right action? What is needed to assist in taking the right action.
It’s the same method that I utilize with clients when creating processes – asking questions. Who? What? When? Where? How? Why? Getting answers to these questions requires one to think things through which leads to creating efficient and effective processes.

Even now, when tempted to get in a hurry, I can still hear my Dad say “Haste makes waste boy.”


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Internal Connectivity – 3 Ways to Determine How Well Your Company is Connected

While it is important to focus on sales growth and profit margins, it’s also critical to understand what is connected to a company’s ability to function well internally. You know how the saying goes – “what happens on the inside becomes visible on the outside.” Here are 3 ways to determine how well your company is connected internally.

Core Values

It is a good idea to have a set of core values as they are connected to the culture of the company. Core values should define:

How the company will treat the employees.

How the employees will treat one another.

How everyone will treat the customer.

When these are defined with core value statements and adhered to, the culture should be a positive one where everyone is treated with respect and dignity – even when disagreeing. No one is allowed to violate the core values as they are the foundation of the company. Are your core values well defined and adhered to by all?

Role Descriptions and Performance Standards

Role descriptions act as another agent of connectivity in two ways. First, they provide detailed information regarding what role is responsible for what tasks. Secondly role descriptions are connected to the training experience as they act as the training outline for the role. When a new employee or an employee moving to a new role is trained, the role description is utilized to ensure the person receives training for each task that they will be held accountable for performing.

Performance standards are connected to a couple of items as well. They speak to the standard to which the person is held accountable when performing tasks listed on the role description. When combined with the role description, this is connected to employees receiving an objective performance review. Most employees prefer objectivity vs subjectivity when it comes to performance reviews. When employees feel that they are managed objectively, morale tends to be higher. So, we can say that objectively managing employees is connected to employee morale. How well is your company connected in this area?


Remember, when we listed the role tasks on the role description? Well, more than likely there is a process for completing the tasks. Analyzing your current processes is connected to your company’s ability to operate efficiently and effectively. When processes are analyzed with employees that participate in the process and or are impacted by the process, cross functional connectivity is addressed to ensure the needs of all within the process are met.

As a consultant, I often find that task completion procedures are not captured in any format. Creating written or video procedures for completing tasks is connected to employees being properly trained which is connected to customers – both internal and external customers – receiving a good experience. Procedure creation is also connected to the retention of task completion knowledge vs someone having this critical information in their head. What are the consequences should this person decide to leave the company? How well is your company connected in this area?

Internal connectivity is important to a company’s long-term viability. Look at the three areas discussed in this article. What does the internal connectivity look like at your company? Check your connections to ensure you stay on the path to longevity.


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Think Long Term When Servicing Your Customer

When I receive or am told of sub par customer service, I often wonder if the service provider is thinking about the long term impact of this type of performance. Providing a service or product to your customers requires one to always think long term. Customer service decisions made today impact your company’s future.

Thinking long term first of all should mean that the customer is at the forefront of your business strategy. Interactions with your customer should be done in a manner that promotes repeat business. Customer service personnel must be trained to think long-term and provided with options that allow them to resolve customer issues from a long-term perspective. A good friend here in Houston called me while he waited for service at a big box retailer. During our conversation, he paused to ask a store employee “So you’re going to bring another person in front of me? You have yet to ask me what I need!” What the store employee didn’t know was that my friend planned to purchase a laptop for his daughter. Well, he didn’t after this encounter! An acknowledgement of my friend’s presence along with an explanation of the employee’s actions may have led to the purchase of the laptop. Just a moment to consider the long-term impact of ignoring a customer may have led to my friend becoming a long-term customer.

Thinking long-term requires one to consider how to handle a customer complaint. The old adage of “the customer is always right” is not necessarily true in all situations. The customer may have misunderstood, misinterpreted, misread, or just plain wants to have his/her way. What’s important for the long-term is the handling of the situation. Your demeanor, voice tone, body language during phone or face to face interactions and verbage utilized when interacting via chat or email play a huge role in retaining this customer. Think long-term when formulating solutions to the issue. Preserve the customer’s dignity when you know that they are just plain wrong. Don’t allow your ego to enter into this interaction. Go into your INP mode. INP means It’s Not Personal. Take a deep breath and think long-term! Weigh the cost of resolving the situation in the customer’s favor against the possibility of losing long-term revenue.

Think long-term when considering changing your service concept of product. How will your customer be impacted by your decision? Is the change the result of customer input? If not, have you considered getting your customer’s feedback on your proposed change? I think we all remember what happened when a famous soft drink company changed the formula for its popular product. Although focus group results appeared positive before launching the change, customers in the southern U.S. held the original formula dear to their hearts. The backlash from this region was tremendous. Who holds your product or service dear to their hearts? Long term thinking will help you to ask the right questions of the right people when you’re considering making changes to your service concept or product. The trash service provider for my subdivision sent out a letter stating that they were changing the truck type from one that requires a crew of three to one that only requires a one person crew. Now I think that’s great for the expense categories of their budget, but how will this change impact the customer. The new truck’s retractable lift arms called for the customers to utilize a new garbage can – one that is specially made for the lift arms. I called the company and asked is the customer responsible for obtaining the proper garbage can or will one be provided by the company. That was six months ago – I’m still waiting for an answer. If the answer comes back that requires customers to purchase the new garbage can, the company will more than likely lose the contract. My subdivision is small with only 87 homes, but that contract represents about $17500.00 of annual revenue. Long term thinking is required by the company in making the decision as to who is responsible for purchasing the new garbage cans.

The willingness to think long-term when servicing customers is one of the most important business strategies that you can incorporate into your day-to-day operations. Make sure everyone within the organization is thinking long-term in regards to customer service. Thinking long-term requires one to always ask – “If I proceed in this manner, what is the long-term effect for both the customer and the company?”


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