Those of you who know me even a bit, know I’m in love with process. I wax philosophical on the wonders and blessings of systematizing, standardizing, planning, and preparation.
My belief: any strategy that moves you closer to perfection in these areas, is a tool you must use! Get clarity in these areas, and decisions will practically make themselves for you and your business will run like clockwork.
I’m a fan of process management in every arena (it’s perfect for families, for instance), but for a small business, clarity about processes and having a system to manage them, is critical to both daily and long term success. Now, that’s easy to put in place with the Process Management Worksheet.
If you haven’t read my post on the Business Model Map and defining your businesses processes, check those out before trying to implement the Process Management Worksheet.
I’m about to give you the what, why and how on this gem of a tool. You’ll be amazed at how straight-forward and worthwhile this is.
What is a Process Management Worksheet?
A picture says a thousand words, so here’s a link to a blank Process Management Worksheet . Take a gander. As you can see, you’ll create a worksheet for every process in your business, and the worksheet organizes associated information. It lists:
the department the process falls within, the process manager, and members of the process team
a standardization checklist – step-by-step procedures involved in the process to ensure consistency
a description of the process as well as it’s objectives, to again provide consistency and clarity regarding the intention and elements of the process.
the “switchboard” – the clearinghouse for process problems, issues, and potential improvements and, for each switchboard entry, the status of examination/execution
Can you already imagine how useful this can be? Let’s look at the impact next.
Why use the Process Management Worksheet
Ever think how great it would be for your employees to become leaders who effectively manage themselves, others, and their tasks? Well, the PMW sets that dream in motion.
By having the PMW in place, responsibilities become crystal clear, teams are empowered to identify problems, generate solutions, and further optimize the process, both individually and as a group – clear leadership skills. The process team manager is appointed based on experience and expertise with the task. The manager’s function is three-fold. They are to systematize, standardize, and document the process, engage their teams in process improvement, and manage team collaboration and participation. S/he obviously acquires impressive people and project management skills, and that development increases exponentially the more process teams s/he manages. Likewise, the PMW sets clear expectations regarding the necessary steps and outcomes of the process, enabling the team to assess progress and plan for needed inputs. Team members cross train, so the improve themselves while simultaneously improving the process and increasing the stability of the company by providing redundancy.
So, the PMW produces engaged employees with leadership and management skills, who are analytic and creative about their areas of responsibilities, are easily assessed by the outcome of the process, and are invested in the outcome. Not bad for one little piece of paper, but wait…just like Ginsu knives, there’s more.
Perhaps the best aspect of the PMW applies only to control freaks (like me!), but you can be the judge. The PMW allows you to know exactly what’s happening and why, without annoying, aggravating, or insulting your employees by micromanaging. You no longer have to worry what would happen if the sole implementer of the process should get hit by a bus (or get hired away by a competitor), because you have a team of cross trained implementers. You also get to mentor process managers, molding them into the best fit for your business culture and demands, while improving their confidence, skill base, and commitment. Imagine a whole company of employees who are process managers in one area or another. You’ve got a little army supporting your business growth. Nifty, right?
How to use the Process Management Worksheet
I won’t belabor this given the clarity of action the worksheet prescribes. That said, the more precise your PMW, the more systemized and standardized. With greater precision, fewer errors occur and tracking the process becomes simpler. Strategies to increase precision include the use of forms, checklists, and screen capture images or videos. For complex, critical or broken processes, an experienced business coach can come in handy, providing both expertise and the 1000 foot view.
In sum, the PMW results in:
• process systematization, standardization, and improvement,
• happy, productive, and engaged employees
• straightforward process training (and cross-training), and
• a calm, collected, in control business owner!
Start using this tool today and share your progress and insights below!