Ways to Streamline a Business Process
The Productivity Intelligence Institute understands the importance of creating a well-designed process in a business setting. As a project manager, developing a sustainable path toward a goal can be just as critical as reaching it. Inefficient processes lead to lost time, unnecessary friction, and frustration. A smooth process accomplishes goals and creates a positive team culture.
Tips to Improve Workflow Efficiency
Improving the efficiency of your workflow is an intentional choice. While some parts of a system will fall together naturally, others will take time and effort to improve. Streamlining your business’s processes is a process in itself.
1. Clarify the Goal
The Greek philosopher Epictetus once wrote, “First say to yourself what you would be; then do what you have to do.” A lack of clarity about the goal is one of the greatest frustrations for team members. If they do not understand what they are working toward, they will struggle to maintain the necessary motivation to achieve it.
2. Third-Person Observation
It can be a challenge to improve a system when you are in the middle of it. Taiichi Ohno, a Japanese businessman, and executive at Toyota, realized the power of observation when he developed the Gemba walk. In this assembly line model, a manager routinely walks through the entire process looking for wasted motions and inefficiencies. In other business settings, you or another employee can talk through your process and look for the friction points that slow things down.
3. Know the Players
Your team includes individuals with strengths and weaknesses. Regular conversations can help you identify the leaders, the dreamers, and the workhorses. Knowing your team will help you assign the right person to the right tas
4. Seek Feedback
Your team members are the people with first-person experiences of your workflow. Process-oriented interviews will help you clarify whether a sticking point is a matter of procedure, personality, or lack of training.
5. Automate and Integrate Your Technology
Almost every aspect of a business depends on technology. In the past, a single organization might have worked with several different platforms to get jobs done. As you integrate systems, you will find opportunities to remove tasks from your team. When your project management software solution automatically sends reminders through your communications system, it will prevent missed goals without adding to another team member’s workload.
6. Repeat and Refine
Especially for repeated tasks, working to streamline a process requires sustained effort. As staff members change or new technologies arise, you will need to consider whether your current model is still the most efficient one.
Make a Complex Process Simple: Changing Individual and Group Habits
Whether at work or home, much of what we do happens by habit. According to the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, almost 40% of the average person’s daily activities occur without thought. Neurologically, this makes sense. It takes less mental energy to do routine tasks like tying your shoes or brushing your teeth when you do not have to make a strong conscious effort.
Damaging or ineffective habitual processes can be challenging to break. In the workplace, this can cause inefficiency and a lack of innovation. Simultaneously, people retain poor habits because there is comfort in doing something as they have always done it. For this reason, it is vital to devote time regularly to streamlining.
The Benefits of Streamlining a Process
If you take the time to do this work, you will begin to experience the benefits of streamlining your processes. One of the top advantages is improved team culture. The streamlining task often involves clarifying roles and improving lines of communication. There are fewer unnecessary emails and more meaningful conversations. Your team members will have a stronger sense of personal accountability to the cooperative effort.
Making changes to improve efficiency also inspires an innovative workplace culture. When your team sees that you take their time and gifts seriously, they will be more willing to try new things and share their best ideas.
Higher efficiency means being more productive in less time. Your team will operate with reduced stress levels, leading to a healthier workplace. You will see fewer sick days, improved attitudes, and less burnout.
Getting Started With the Streamline Process
If your business has always done things the same way, you may need help streamlining your processes. The Productivity Intelligence Institute is ready to help you on the journey with online resources, e-learning courses, and productivity coaching services. Contact me today to set up an appointment for a consultation.