The Process Triage Origin Story

I love to hear and read company origin stories.  Founders enjoy telling them.

I was asked to record Process Triage’s story so HERE (6:45) it is.  What surprised me was how much it energized me, now eight years into my company’s journey, after about 15 years of learning it at Sprint Corporation (hat tip Bob, Anita, Cloene, Dennis, and George).

Was my hair ever that color really?

Enjoy,

Rosey

People Like Us …. Build Continuously Better Teams

I owe whatever successes I’ve enjoyed to the men and women who stopped to teach me.

I cannot help but remember some of their pithy teaching points, like Teach your strengths and work on your weaknesses.  

My weakness (among many) is marketing. Seth Godin’s Marketing Seminar is helping me with it.  One of the teaching points is about focusing on who will be interested in what I’m interested in helping with — People Like Us.

 

So here’s my bullet point list, of who ProcessTriage® people are:

People like us build great teams, building members who…

  • Get our core values.
  • Leave whatever they touch better off.
  • Fill every moment with stuff that matters.
  • Know who does and needs what — workflow awareness.
  • Are empathetic and hyper-accountable to each other and our customers.
  • Are effective issue processors and solution triagers.
  • Have each other’s and our customers’ backs.
  • Are high-motor go-to professionals
  • Teach their strengths and improve their weaknesses.
  • Take stuff off their boss’s plate.
  • Live deliberate lives.
  • Bring solutions and welcome better ones.
  • Add something to every person they touch.

People like us build great teams.

The Latest Data on Our Triaging Workshop Satisfactions.

We’ve known for some time why executives sponsor our team triaging workshop, succinctly listed by EOS®  Implementer Jonathan Smith.

  1. The Core ‘Driveshaft’ Process is Unclear
  2. This process is too complex
  3. The process works inconsistently
  4. The process’s lack of clarity is creating chaos
  5. They need stakeholder buy-in and ownership to change it
  6. They are in a lot of pain
  7. They are frustrated and want help

We also know that the highest performing teams are hyper-accountable to each other.  This accountability comes from extremely high situational awareness — they know their process and who’s doing and needing what to meet their responsibilities and expectations.

These participant’s are the sponsor’s own Go-To Experts, who live and breath and sweat and laugh and scream and yell and do the actual work of the process they’ve triaged.  They typically identify about 35 recurring process-related behaviors or events (not people issues) they want stopped.  They triage — sort, not solve these pain points into about 15 to 25 proposed improvements.  If they follow through and implement these proposals, the process improves toward its capability goal.

We close each ProcessTriage® Workshop with an anonymous Participant’s Survey. We ask them to score their satisfactions from 1-to-10, with 10 being the most satisfied.  We want an average of 8 points or better.  We summarize these findings with the triagers’ remarks in a sponsor’s report.

Here are three of the questions and their satisfaction scores from the last 50 workshops.  The sample size is 455 participants (triagers).

 So — if you want to improve your core process team’s situational awareness and member empathy and accountability, we welcome your call.  Rosey @ 913-269-3410.

The Ultimate Thank You Note…

One of Process Triage’s core values is Elevate Someone, Somehow.  Meaning, leave each person we interact with no worse for the moment, while seeking something to add to them and elevate their life.  One does not condescendingly assume everyone lacks something only we can remedy.  It simply means we actively, respectfully listen to them — deliberately think about them.  What do they want and need?  Have we seen someone like them before, where they are at? Have we helped someone like them?  Can we help now — right now?

A couple of years ago I blogged about Jessi Ross at the Kansas Department of Motor Vehicles.  PT had the privilege of triaging in the Department of Revenue with several process management teams, including the motor vehicles department’s Drivers’ License management office. Since Kansas, statewide, as very little mass transit, surviving and thriving in Kansas requires access to a vehicle — something city dwellers may not appreciate.  One has to have a vehicle in Kansas, generally speaking. So it’s especially important work.

I received this amazing email from Jessi (shared with permission):

Good Morning friend,

I hope this email finds you well. [Snip] I have accepted and began a new adventure. I am working for American Association of Motor Vehicles Administrators! As I am sure you know, is the hub of all things DMV! I am blessed and thankful for this new opportunity. It is truly a dream come true. [Snip] 

My official job title is Program Director for Driver License Compacts and Reciprocity. My primary focus will be the management of the compacts and agreements that each state uses for uniformity with citations, suspensions, etc. I will also manage the reciprocity agreements, both foreign and domestic. 

I want to thank you Rosey. You believed in me from the beginning. I will never forget the conversation we had one day about my future. That conversation has helped me in so many ways.

If there is anything you need, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Jessica Ross
Driver License Compacts & Reciprocity Program Director

Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators

What I was reminded by Jessi (and her DMV team) is wonderful, self-managed, hyper-accountable teams thrive in the public sector also.  Stereotypes that paint public sector employees as less motivated or less caring about well designed and run business processes are unfair and, well — just ignorant.  The more accurate assumption is these teams are busting their butts with out-of-date technology supported with IT infrastructure with significant technical debt.

There are many Jessi Ross’s in these thankless public sector offices.

A little encouragement can spark greatness.

What a Process Triage Workshop Delivers (Video)

HERE, in a few minutes of video of a live Process Triage Workshop, is my explanation of what the workshop is all about.

Enjoy!

Another Seth Godin jewel…

I’ve been a fan of Seth Godin for a couple of years.  His daily blog maintains an exceptional quality.  I probably bookmark two or three a month.

This morning’s blog was about process improvement, PT’s sweet spot.

Doing what he suggests begins with our culture — study and fix processes first; the people improvements will be easier.

Enjoy

What’s Your Process’s Triage Profile?

Let’s begin this New Year with something fresh and clean and thoughtful and, maybe, kick-butt useful to our integrators and operations lovers.

Introducing our Process Triage Profile

A Process Triage Profile paints a picture of what your immediate process improvement focus should be, according to your team that triaged the process.

Recall, a Process Point-of-Pain is any recurring event or behavior happening to or in a process that inhibits its performance capability — like quality or volume or speed. When we remove the pain point, the process performs closer to its capability goals.  Process Triaging is all about issue-processing these Pain Points into a Solutions, sorted into one of four types of solutions:

  • Analyze for a root cause if we don’t know the most likely cause enough,
  • Design a best practice method or technology if we don’t have something off-the-shelf that prevents the pain (if we use it!),
  • Train this best practice or technology is it needs reminding, and/or
  • Enforce the best practice with our management operating system if we’ve eliminated the first three solutions.  By enforce, we don’t mean some heavy-handed supervision. We’re just saying we know the cause, have a best practice, and don’t need to train it. We need to focus on execution and doing what we know to do. The execution tactics can involve any aspect of our operating practices in any area.
  • After the solution is selected, we estimate its level of effort.  We call it a Small Now for an action item / task-size deliverable or a Big Now if t’s a larger, project-size effort.
  • After all the Points-of-Pain are triaged, the triage team ranks the proposals by their highest, most capability improving value.
  • Your triage host writes post-triage Implementation Plan, and either schedules and assigns a proposals for immediate pursuit or declares it Not Yet until you free up some resources (which they estimate).

A Process Triage Session is an all-day (typically) facilitated workshop with your process’s experts — the go-to professionals who know and live and breath the process. They’ll generate, typically, 35 to 45 Points-of-Pain and triage them into 18 to 24 solutions — (Analyze “x” for a root cause or, Design, Train, and/or Enforce best practice “x”) .

A team’s triage solutions set that consists of mostly Analyze’s (for root causes) or Design’s (best practices or tools) asserts the process’s best practices or tools need definition.  These improvements should be put in place before asking more of the process.  (Otherwise,  you’ll just create crap faster!).  Here’s what that Process Triage Profile looks like:

Heavy Analysis & Design Best Practice Triage Profile Example.

Heavy Analysis & Design Best Practice Triage Profile Example.

If a team’s proposals are mostly Train or Enforce existing best practices or tools,  then the organization’s operating practices need a closer look.   Practices like hiring and performance accountability. Maybe its resource planning and logistics or process control reporting, and so on. That Process Triage Profile looks like this:

Heave Train & Enforce Best Practices (Ops Excellence) Triage Profile

Heave Train & Enforce Best Practices (Ops Excellence) Triage Profile

These different profiles give the leader an at-a-glance picture of what faces them as they undertake continuous improvements.  They can better manage expectations, understand how fast things can improve.  Triaging helps them recognize if their focus should be on better best practices (the first example) or tuning their operating system (the second example).

We’ll include a Process Improvement Profile with our flagship Process Triage Workshop going forward.

Consider your own core, driveshaft process.  From Bid-to-Cash, or Lead-to-Cash — your customer-facing work. What do you suppose your Process Improvement Profile looks like?

 

Use Triaging to Onboard Executives Faster

Occasionally there is a change in executive leadership after a Process Triage.  Naturally, the triagers wonder if their efforts will be supported, at best, or stalled out or stopped, at worst.

 

Since the process improvement proposals — the Small Now action items and Big Now project-size efforts are identified and prioritized bottoms-up, by the technical expert triagers, a change in senior leadership doesn’t invalidate the triage findings unless the enterprise is fundamentally changing what it must be capable of doing — certainly in the short term.
welcomeonboard

Consider using the triage results to onboard the new leader.  Have the triage team lead this briefing as a individual and team development moment.  First review the process map, then the Process Capability Goal, then the improvement proposals deck.  Have the owner of each action item or project present their proposal and report its progress.

This is a great way to acquaint the new executive with some of their expert front-liners. No doubt the new leader wants some quick wins and establish credibility with your go-to experts. This gives the leader the facts, information, and situational awareness to immediately course correct (unlikely) and maintain the improvements momentum.

Here’s a video clip about this HERE, to explain it.

 

Issue Processing Starts in the Amygdala

Fundamentally, Business Process Triaging is issue processing on steroids. It very structured, very fast, and very focused on the behaviors and events that inhibit an enterprise”s Driveshaft process from sustaining a required level of performance.  That said, issue processing is like a rifle cartridge — the bullet encased in a propellant-filled shell.  The ability to process an issue can be pointed at about anything, but process triaging is the rifle barrel that directs it to the best target.

cartridgeanatomy

In Business Process Triaging, the bullet that obliterates the issue (the target), is of four types — Analyze, Design, Train and/or Enforce Something — typically a best practice or technology.  So far, so good.

So, where do the issues — the targets originate?

We see them as issues in the center of the brain, at the top of the brain stem, in a region called the Amygdala.  This is the seat of memory and emotions, where the brain recognizes something it’s observed before and attaches an emotional response.  If the stimulus is threatening enough, it becomes an issue.  If it’s intense enough, it can spread to the brain stem (Medulla Oblongata) and trigger a fight or flight response.

All that to say, if one wants to engage the analytical powers of the brain to address the issue, we need to move the thought out of the amygdala to the cerebral frontal cortex — to our issue processor.

amygdalatocfc

We do this by asking an amazingly simple question:  “How often does this happen?”  We empower our frontal cortex to seize the issue by its throat by asking it to count it. How many?  How often?  Where?  Quantify it, please.

This is the theory behind why a Process Point-of-Pain, in triaging, is always a measurement of a recurring event or behavior that inhibits a process’s performance.  Why it’s never a resource constraint — we haven’t processed it that far yet.

 

Chicago. Giordano’s Deep Dish Pizza. Indeed.

Just completed four Vistage talks on triaging in Chicago.

Giorodano's Deep Dish 2

No visit to the Windy City is complete without a dose of Giordano’s Deep Dish.

Indeed.