It All Starts with Process. (Day 1 of 7)

Hi, there. Welcome to day one.

We hope you’re as excited as we are to get started on this journey toward building a performance culture in your organization. The next seven days will be instrumental in shifting your mindset toward success, and it begins right now. 

Everyone Focused on the Same End Result 

By nature, an organization’s success depends on the combined work of every employee. Whether or not that work leads to success, however, depends on whether the collective work being done is coordinated and moving toward the same end goals. 

Think about what happens when the population of an anthill is signaled to a food source—say, a slice of bread discarded under a picnic table. A team of ants is sent to collect their bounty and they will work together to dismantle and relocate that food to their ant hill crumb by crumb. The reason ants can do this so effectively is that they have a process they use—in this case a biological one where the ants at the lead of the line leave pheromones for those who come after—so everyone knows where they are going and how to get there. Without that process to guide them, there would be chaos. That is the power of process. 

Of course, people are not ants and organizations aren’t anthills, but the same basic principle applies: Achieving goals requires processes that unify the team and lead them towards those goals. What’s more, those processes require providing clear, concrete expectations for success that ensure outstanding performance.  

In short, your people need to know: 

  • Where they are going, with clearly stated results, and 
  • How to get there, by defining the quality outputs that lead to those results and the standards required to achieve them. 

A Well-Defined Process 

When your people have well-defined processes to follow, they can improve their performance and achieve at the highest level, because those processes should be based on the performance required to achieve results. As long as those processes link to your business results, their personal achievements will also lead to organizational success: 

  • You’ll grow faster. 
  • You’ll attract and keep better talent. 
  • You’ll engage everyone in a culture of excellence. 
  • Your customers will be happier.  
  • You’ll have more time. 
  • You’ll get better at resolving issues. 
  • You’ll make more money. 
  • Your company will be more valuable. 
  • You’ll live a better life. 

Start with the End in Mind 

Because process is important, you should follow a system for putting performance-based processes into practice at your organization. Start by working with stakeholders to determine the organization’s key business results and which of those is relevant for each process to be mapped.  

Once you know what the end goals are, you can perform interviews of all the roles involved in the process. These interviews help to uncover:  

  • The relevant outputs.  
  • Who receives each completed output.  
  • The order in which they currently happen on the job.   

With all of that information you can develop a working process map from start to finish. The interviews should be conducted with both the workers directly involved in achieving outputs, as well as managers responsible for larger outcomes. This ensures that the resulting process map reflects reality and lines up with the management expectations.  

Benefits of a Performance Analysis 

Ideally, an analysis would then be performed for each output in the working process map. This analysis allows you to discover the factors that positively and negatively influence behavior within the process. It is this analysis stage that provides you with the information needed to eliminate or mitigate negative influential factors and highlight positive ones. This leads to improved performance in the process and, potentially, an updated final process that is optimized based on the results of the analysis.  

With the completed process in place, everyone involved in the process can work towards a shared goal in a unified way. What’s more, once they are familiar with the process, they can easily spot areas where it can be improved in the future.  

Tomorrow is going to have you completely rethinking the traditional “job description.” See you then!