Business Processes Re-engineered, Real-time
Lynn Plummer and Bob Green – SingerLewak SL Business Informatics
Taking time to consider what we’re able to learn from the unique conditions we’re facing today may be a luxury for some business leaders, but for others there is time to contemplate. We’ve been fortunate enough to work with our clients throughout this process and have been impressed with the leadership and employee behavior in so many ways. What follows are a few forward-looking business improvement insights based on learnings from this temporary new “normal” state we’re in:
- Evaluate your “Change” Leadership – this lockdown represents a massive Change initiative that few adequately planned for. How did your leadership team come together? Evaluate yourself, your leadership team and get direct feedback. What forms of communication to your team, customers and vendors worked best? Communicated by whom? What mediums were most effective? What level of detail and frequency was appropriate? What didn’t resonate well or caused confusion?
- Learn from exposed inefficiencies – Without the luxury of working in the same physical location, organizational inefficiencies become more obvious to spot. Every business in its pre-epidemic state can be guilty of any of these inefficiencies: too many cooks, too much consensus, too many meetings, too many steps or exchanges to complete a process, too much red tape or too many rules that hinder progress, relying on paper mail and paper processes, lack of consolidated data or documents and countless others. These instances likely seemed easier to work around or were just accepted as “normal”. What can be done to permanently resolve or reduce them now that they are out in the open? Consider process and policy changes as you look forward, mitigating exposed inefficiencies. Often relatively simple changes in roles, protocols and processes can be impactful and, if executed properly, motivating to all involved.
- In-Person meeting? Needed? – Get in the habit of identifying what can be most effectively accomplished via video meetings. In-person meetings won’t ever go away. We’re social creatures – evidenced by our collective desire to be more interactive right now. But consider that in-person meetings cause traffic and disruption, logistical time to/from, technology plug-in and out, and are generally seen as inefficient to many otherwise productive participants. Video, of course, reduces not only literal travel times but all the distractions that occur as a result of moving from one place to another – walking or driving. We’re seeing the new “normal” to be more video focused, leaving in-person sessions to be more purposeful, impactful and interactive.
- Loosen the Reins on Remote Work Policies – If you weren’t sure, pre-epidemic, whether your employees can work effectively remotely – we surmise your answer is clearer, now. It’s likely “yes” or a qualified yes. Working remotely may not always be the most productive, but it’s certainly more productive than the potential business interruption of unnecessary PTO time. Consider revaluating your policies and IT protocols regarding working from home and/or working an alternative schedule to allow employees flexibility when they have a parent teacher conference, home repair or doctor’s appointment; Or when they are a little under the weather but feel they are well enough to work. Rather than just accepting these instances as roadblocks, enable your employees with options to navigate around them.
The reality is that most organizations were already in a constant state of change; this lockdown is yet another curveball that will contribute future behaviors and practices to what will become part of the “normal” for any successful organization. The current situation provides the perfect use case for you to evaluate your (and your leadership team’s) effectiveness as Change leaders, and to build on what worked – and minimize and learn from what didn’t.
We hope that our insights above proved helpful as you consider learnings from this challenging time. We all look forward to when we can all safely emerge. We wish you well, and are here to help with business process improvement reviews, Change Management advisory, and IT leadership. Good luck, and stay safe!
Lynn Plummer and Bob Green, CPA.CITP serve as a Director and Lead Partner, respectively, for SingerLewak’s SL Business Informatics service line. They specialize in guiding clients through business transformation initiatives that have business process and information technology change at the core, and require management of Change in order to best succeed. They can be reached at [email protected]