Learn about your business processes and what they say about your business. Each company starts out developing processes that are determined by various limiting factors; as a company grows, hopefully, these limiting factors are decreased, and the processes evolve to match the potential and future goals.
If your business has grown, but your processes haven’t kept pace with this growth, it could be a sign that the business was unprepared for the growth, that there is uncertainty about how to modify existing processes to match the growth and prepare the business for the future, or that there is reluctance to change. Either way, this could lead to problems if the growth continues and processes are not reviewed to ensure that they meet the evolving business needs.
Are your existing processes holding your business back?
From lead generation through to the finance department, your existing processes should enhance day-to-day operations. If the opposite is true in any area, these are lost opportunities, wasted resources, and customer-service disruption. When this takes place, it becomes a risk point for organizations and an advantage for your competitors. Don’t assume that your competitors aren’t aware of your business-process deficiencies; customers and employees tend to voice disapproval and unhappiness when it comes to processes and unnecessary manual workaround.
Some factors that may impact business processes
- An organization’s beliefs about process improvements and the potential benefits
- Hierarchy factors into how processes are determined and how often they are valued and reviewed.
- Available skill sets can easily dictate processes, in that some business areas have individuals with sufficient knowledge and skills to enable significant improvements while other areas may lag due to a skills gap.
- Cash flow most definitely plays a huge role in whether or not a business has the option to streamline processes in ways that create significant improvements and create opportunities.
- Technology is also a notable enabler, especially in light of many improvements resulting from outsourced web-based offerings.
- Internal policies can often dictate and limit possibilities if they create stringent boundaries to operate within.
- Customer needs are a key factor that should be monitored closely. Ignoring customer needs in terms of business-process improvements is one of the biggest mistakes companies make and can completely jeopardize a business.
- Other processes have an impact, especially when there is a disconnect between them. If one area of a business excels in processes and improvements yet another remains stagnant and unyielding, it is highly unlikely that the two will work well together.
- Employee and leadership inflexibility can make it almost impossible for a business to enhance or change existing processes for the better since they are likely to fight change at every turn.
- Company culture may be inflexible if it is more traditional and doesn’t place enough value in innovation for sustainability.
- Industry norms can factor into the equation if competitors in the same space also choose to be complacent and maintain the status quo. This can influence other business leaders to do the same.
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Moira Alexander, PMP, I.S.P., ITCP/IP3P, is a recognized project management influencer, thought leader, a regular correspondent for PMI’s Projectified podcast, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of PMWorld 360 Magazine, Founder of Lead-Her-Ship Group, and author of “LEAD or LAG: Linking Strategic Project Management & Thought Leadership”. Moira has over 25 years of experience in business (IS&T) and project management for small to large businesses in the US and Canada and has been quoted in various publications including Forbes. She writes thought leadership content for top-tier publications and business blogs and oversees or writes sponsored content and software reviews on PMWorld 360 Magazine.