So far, I’ve written a little about the necessity of a clear Purpose (Why) and having the right People on your team (Who). Today I’ll address the importance of understanding your Process (How), the third element of a healthy business.
Notice that I’m not talking about the processes, which are all of the various methods used to accomplish tasks within the organization. Instead I’m referring specifically to The Process, the succinct and singular expression of how a company does what it does. While it may seem as though your company does many different things in many different ways, for any small to mid-sized businesses it should all boil down to one simple thing. For example, for a company who sells a serviceable product, their Process may look something like this:
Engage Prospect > Craft Solution > Install Product > Train Customer > Provide Support
This particular Process may seem rather vague, and yet it provides a clearer perspective for analyzing the effectiveness of the business. In examining each step, the leadership team should ask questions like “Who are our ideal prospects and what is the most effective way to engage them?” “In crafting a solution, what information do we need about the prospect’s situation and who on our team should be involved in this process?” “When we install our product, what kind of experience are we creating for our customer? Are we efficient yet still thorough?” “Are we providing more-than-adequate training to our customer to ensure they get the most out of their purchase?” “How are we responding to our customer’s needs as we provide ongoing support?” Answering these questions helps to tighten the focus on what’s truly relevant to the business.
It also helps clarify what’s irrelevant or obsolete. Any activity that does not support one of these steps or the Process overall is essentially useless, and should be eliminated. Even though something may have been done for years, and at one time was very important to the operation, things change. So each of the company’s processes, policies, and procedures must be regularly reviewed in light of the current Process, and adjusted or discarded accordingly. Why waste time, money, and effort on work that does not advance your business?
The Process, no matter how solid it is, will not stand on its own and still ultimately depends on having the right People driven by a clear and meaningful Purpose. Nonetheless, knowing your team is exclusively focused together on activity that matters is a crucial element to building A Business That Matters.