This past week I challenged a couple of existing business processes. One thing that I’ve never understood about business environments is why people and management continue to require and support processes that don’t add value to the service and production output of the organization. I think most people prefer to not create waves and find it easier to just stay within the predefined boundaries that are set for them.
Challenging a process doesn’t mean we are against the team
If I challenge a process, something I try to convey right-away is that I’m against the team or trying to discredit anyone on the team. Asking questions such as “why are we doing this?” or “could this be done more efficiently?” are purposeful and intentional to create a conversation. The irony is that challenging the business process is really about making the team stronger. Make sure challenges are respectful and keep the conversation focused on the process and the results, not people.
Influencing factors for business processes change over time
Business processes are created at a point in time and many elements influence how and why those processes are created. The size of the organization, the functional departments, government regulations, audit requirements, GAAP rules, technology capability are a few factors that come to mind. Look at that this again and think how many of those factors are subject to change from one year to the next. They all can. A changing environment can lead to a fertile field for business process change.
Recognize other ideas, it’s at the core of the challenge
The very nature of a challenge to a process is that it introduces new ideas. If we are challenging something, then we need to be open to alternate ideas. The conversation we create should explore our own ideas and invite others ideas as well. Remember, the end goal is more important than any one idea. It’s all about the value to the customer.