When some people hear the words “procedure,” “process,” and “system,” they get nervous or bored. In many corporate cultures, procedures, processes, and systems are code for “red tape,” and these very systems create inefficiencies within the organization or slow down the speed of internal communication. Or, if your systems do make things more efficient, your employees may argue that following these processes restricts them, makes them feel less creative. But in a growing business, having no standards, processes, or systems is not the solution. Your employees will be less efficient since the processes that they try to develop may not be standardized and repeatable, and then they’re liable to miss steps and the company is likely to miss opportunities.
So, how can you create procedures, processes, and systems at your business that will enhance your employees’ creativity and save you time?
1. Before developing or finalizing a process, hold a brainstorming session.
Even if you have an idea of what you want a process or system to do, of how you want it to make an aspect of your business more efficient or effective, brainstorming is still a good idea. Brainstorming with the entire team will allow you to hear several different ideas, so any process or system developed will be created from a more diverse, more experienced perspective. You’ll likely have some people who will propose unique, unconventional ideas, which could make certain steps in the process more useful or more efficient, which could enhance your team’s creativity.
Brainstorming is also another way to get support and buy-in from your team once the process or system has been developed. Because they know that you have consulted the whole team for input, your team members will be more open to implementing whatever process you ultimately develop. Just be sure — especially if you decide to move forward with a process or system that differs from what your team has proposed — that you take the time to explain what the new process and system will be, why you decided upon it, and what value you hope it will bring the team.
2. Encourage your team members to give feedback when outlining the steps of the process and after the process has been developed.
Sometimes, when processes and systems are developed, members of management outline what they feel the process should be, even if they’re not the people who are completing the tasks that are part of the process. In such a situation, the process is likely to be missing steps, or the system may not adequately address the team’s needs. For example, if management creates a process around how to write a report but doesn’t regularly do so, they may put the steps out of the most logical order, or they may forget a step that is crucial to the writing process.
However, if employees have an opportunity to share their thoughts on the process/system, they will feel more motivated to follow the process or use the system. They will also be able to point out any holes in the process or system and make sure that it’s even more efficient.
3. Make sure that the procedure, process, or system can be modified quickly and easily.
Another potential issue is that businesses can make it a challenge to modify procedures, processes, and systems once they are in place. While the process needs to be repeatable and produce consistent results, the goal of a process is to make the company more efficient, not to hinder progress. So, if it’s clear there’s a new, better way to order new product and inventory your existing stock, make sure that it’s not too difficult to modify your process so that you can be even more efficient. If you make it a headache to modify your process by putting endless review cycles in place, you may find that your employees and your business miss out on key opportunities because it took so long to streamline the process.
So, ask yourself: how easily could you change your procedure, process, or system if you needed to do so? You’ll also empower your teammates to bring forward suggestions on how to improve these procedures, processes, and systems because they’ll feel like their input will be valued, respected, and actually implemented.
Want to learn more about how to develop effective processes and systems for your business? If so, contact us today to learn how we can help.