Kinnaird: Planning for when things don’t go as planned

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Later this spring I’m presenting to a national association on the topic “Process Improvement, Or When Things Don’t Go As Planned.”

And of course, things don’t go as planned more often than we’d like! That’s often because your processes aren’t thought out, documented and built into your training. Processes exist for every job in your company and a growing business has to create some version of an operations manual. Without that it’s much harder to scale, maximize profits and minimize customer service issues. Processes can even lead to a better work environment.

“LCI"

Business owners say is they understand the need for an operations manual but they don’t have the time to put one together. Instead of taking the time on the front end to create systems (“pay me now”), they go along as best as they can until everything starts to breakdown (“pay me later.”) Sure, processes are easiest to create when you have the time and space in your business to document them. Like when you first start your business or when business is slow; if it ever is.

As your business grows, it’s all-hands-on-deck, and that’s when your systems or processes are being tested and they either work or don’t work. And, as your business evolves, your processes often outdate themselves. You have multiple people doing what one person used to do. There are more steps or different steps. Documenting and updating processes is an on-going task. There’s a process to putting together processes!

While consistency of delivery is an end goal, you don’t want a whole team of robots. You just want everyone doing the same steps, in the right order, at the right time. And, people tend to fall into 2 types when it comes to building and following processes.

There are the organized, systematic types and the creative, inventive types. I’m in the first group and see everything as a series of steps to follow to get to an expected end. I need the structure in my routines and always spot where processes don’t exist or are broken. Perhaps you’re like that, too.

The second-creative types are more “color outside of the lines.” A process may exist, but they may skip a few steps and do their own thing. They need structure, too, in order to get consistent results. Maybe this describes you?

Either way, your company needs the power of processes. Having a systematized business will allow your team to have more days when things go as planned.

Amy Kinnaird is a Business Strategist & Speaker. Amy mentors small business CEO’s and works with their teams to improve processes and professionalism so that they are more profitable! Call her at 318-795-0520 or visit www.AmyKinnaird.com.