Process silos get a bad rap. They’re blamed for process failures. In reality, silos happen naturally and organically as work volume grows. We have to specialize tasks for efficiency, as in “Joe, you focus on this task and hand your work off to Jane. She’ll focus on the next task.” And so on.
Eventually, Joe or Jane needs help so we add staff or technology, and a silo develops. Sometimes cross-training Joe and Jane helps the workflow. But silos — task-focused teams are inevitable and necessary. As some volume of growth, Marketing will partition from Sales, who will partition from Order Fulfillment, who will partition from Accounts Receivable, for example.
Silos require workflow design and oversight — process management by any other title. That means adding overhead labor. How work is handed off between silos must be deliberate and watched. The quality of work handed off must be fit for use, something best negotiated by experts from the giving and receiving silo, including how they’ll communicate the hand-off. In other words, silos without deliberate workflow management will fail to deliver the efficiencies they promise.
Silos that do not collaborate up and down stream fail.
Look for workflow design or oversight mistakes first.
https://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.png00Joseph Rosenbergerhttps://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.pngJoseph Rosenberger2020-11-20 13:44:592020-11-20 13:45:00One Minute Process Mastery Tip #3: Silos Require Workflow Oversight
“All of us are smarter than any one of us.” is attributed to Ken Blanchard of The One Minute Manager fame. While it’s not necessarily true when us is a mob, it is certainly true in the world of process management. As process cycles grow, skilled work is naturally and necessarily partitioned (silos) for efficient resource use. Silos, as few as sensible, are smart management when we add good hand-off coordination — process management.
Over time, each silo develops a unique set of needs and makes receiving and handing off work more involved. As these silos grow and harden, the data and wisdom necessary to manage the process partitions as well. The insights of each silo’s experts must come together to do what is best for the process as a whole. Practically, process improvement must be delegated to an end-to-end expert team to deliver best solutions. All of us are indeed smarter than any one of us. When they see it, they will fix it.
Process Triage facilitators are great sounding boards for dealing with business process issues. Contact usfor a no obligation, no solicitation conversation.
https://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.png00Joseph Rosenbergerhttps://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.pngJoseph Rosenberger2020-08-04 11:59:172020-08-04 11:59:19One Minute Process Mastery Tip #2: All of Us Are Smarter Than Any One of Us
This One Minute Process Mastery Tip is the first in a series of my pay-it-forward observations focused on solving business process failures (and spotting opportunities). Each tip is succinct, practical, and proven. Enjoy.
When a process fails somewhere — such as a deliverable is late or its quality disputed or costs too much, don’t conclude it’s a people problem first.Check the process first.
As your best practices deliver business growth, processes that use them fail because they may not be designed for more volume or cycles. It’s not necessarily an operator or supervisor failure — a people problem. What worked at “X” volume fails at “1X” volume. No one deliberately hires incompetent people; the process simply outgrew itself. Processes break as they grow and it’s normal. By focusing your first conversation on the process you encourage problem solving and empowerment. Consider a people problem when those responsible don’t bring fact-driven, ready to approve-the-purchase order solutions. It’s the ball before the player.
Warning: If you try to fix a process with a design failure thinking it’s a people problem, you’ll upset your people (Oh Crap!) and not solve the process problem (Double Crap!)
Process Triage facilitators are great sounding boards for dealing with business process issues. Contact usfor a no obligation, no solicitation conversation.
https://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.png00Joseph Rosenbergerhttps://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.pngJoseph Rosenberger2020-07-30 10:43:502020-07-30 10:49:15One Minute Process Mastery Tip #1: Fix The Ball Before the Player.
It’s that time of year; mid-summer about six weeks from Labor Day (all ready?!). Time to review what I’ve learned from our amazing clients and their triaging teams, as well as reflect on the work of our facilitators. I’m living that sometimes gleeful, sometimes nerve-racking challenge of growing this little company. It’s all about balancing a complicated and often competing list of to-do’s while making enough cash to on-board the best talent one can find to delegate stuff you must if you’re going to realize the vision. It’s a lot of the Happiness of Pursuit.
I’m privileged to be a Vistage® / TEC® speaker. My primary topic is Business Process Triaging. I was introduced and on-boarded to the Vistage® speaker community in 2013 by Kansas City chair Jeff Hutsell, a friend for life. Next year’s scheduling begins in September and is usually completed by mid-October. The national headquarters has a terrific team of speaker coordinators and asks speakers to organize their topic(s) around what matters most to their C-Suite members: The Key Decisions, The Big Idea, and Think Abouts.
My program targets executives of mid-size enterprises and department heads within large organizations where the service or product’s value chain is complex enough to require a team to perform. One reality in organizations this size is the core process (and the team living it) experience mass casualty events — times when the entire process comes under extreme stress. It appears to fail, or about to fail in almost every step, as if the entire process is under assault. Business Process Triaging is all about what leaders and teams do to get and sustain control of the environment. To find and focus on the best series of tasks and projects to navigate the growth they face.
THE BIG IDEA
Equip your Go-To Team* to handle Maximum Business Process Stress and build a more cohesive, situationally aware, emotionally smarter, business savvy organization while you’re at it. Business processes break as they grow, so make dealing with it a competitive cultural advantage. Be able to Business Process Triage when it’s needed.
* Go-To’s are your expert task performers and mentors, your believables when you need to know what’s really going. They’re your high-motor, high-passion, dedicated professionals.
THE BIG QUESTIONS & DECISIONS
Consider your core business process – from customer first touch all the way to service or product delivery to cash:
You want a culture of continuous operational improvement driven by those closest to the work, that takes day-to-day issue management off your plate so you can focus on longer horizon, bigger decision stuff. What and how do you delegate?
All hell has broken out across the whole process! Errors! Delays! Rework! What do you do that will settle everyone down right now? The result must put you on the best path to resolve things and prevent recurrence.
You want to sell to a Private Equity investor. What might you demonstrate about your core process that makes you a compelling candidate?
How might you raise your core team’s emotional IQ – that interpersonal empathy that glues highest performing teams together?
After an explanation and practical exercise in process triaging, and a review of a few case studies..
Delegating issue processing in a business process to a team closest to the work.
When it comes to core process issues, leverage the wisdom that the team has more situational awareness then the individual contributor.
Insisting your Go-To’s also teach, not just do.
Insisting on measurement-based issue processing while trusting your Go-To’s estimates.
Considering the gap between your goals and your capabilities; the greater the gap, the more likely the process’s design will fail when you attempt to scale.
There are times to deliberatelysort (triage) before you solve – similar to a medical mass casualty event.
Growing enterprises will be under constant core process stress. Embrace it. Design your culture for it. The triaging protocol is a proven skill.
The program’s exhibits; just how much process intelligence can you gather from triaging?
What is the opportunity value and cost of not having a Go-To team issue processing your core process right now?
So, my shingle’s out for next year’s speaking calendar. The three-hour talk, exercise, and case study review makes a solid executive staff half-day team builder.
Closing note: If you’re a C-Suiter and not a member of a peer advisory group, I encourage you to consider one like Vistage®. Reach out to me. It’s likely I know of a chair in your city. Email Rosey
https://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.png00Joseph Rosenbergerhttps://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.pngJoseph Rosenberger2018-07-16 07:50:272018-07-16 07:50:27Business Process Triaging's BIG IDEA
I’ve been a fan of Ray Dalio, co-founder of Bridgewater Associates. He recently published Principles: Life and Workisboth an autobiography and and exposition of his core values. Mr. Dalio is notably recognized for his emphasis on building an organization that makes great decisions based on radical truth and transparency. Bridgewater is the largest United States hedge fund manager with some $150 Billion under management.
Mr. Dalio itemizes and explains the rationale behind scores of principles. A core set of these principles is his 5-Step Process (about page 260 on my ebook) for improving an organization. Each step is listed below, followed by how our flagship Process Triage workshop practices these steps. (I’m not saying PT does these 5-Steps the way Bridgewater does, but we follow the pattern.)
Have clear goals. The Process Triage workshop’s prework includes a Process Capability Goal. It describes what the process we’re triaging must be capable of performing and delivering in measurable terms. If the process can sustain the goal, it will contribute its share of a larger organizational objective. The workshop’s executive sponsor assigns this goal’s writing to an understudy (the workshop host) for professional development. Every improvement the triage team proposes and prioritizes will, if implemented, deliver progress towards this goal.
Identify the problems preventing the goals from being achieved. We identify problems — we call them Pain Points, with the most believable, Go-to experts in the process we’re triaging. They’re hand picked by the host. Each triage team consists of the most believable, closest-to-the-work performers of the work. Every pain point must be described in measurable terms — counting how much and how often something happens that inhibits the capability goal. It’s radically truthful and radically transparent. Each triager is provided the respect, empathy, and listened-to attention as they identify pain points. Given each triager sees only a portion of the whole process, they’ll see pain points across the whole process after everyone’s contributed. Their situational awareness and diagnostic insights make all of them smarter than any one of them.
Diagnose parts of the machine. Using the ProcessTriage® Protocol, the team examines each pain point and selects the type of solution and sizes its level of effort. The four solutions are:
ANALYZE a pain point for a cause that’s not obvious, then triage that cause(s). DESIGN a best practice (procedure, tool, technology, policy, instruction, etc.) that stops the problem.
TRAIN an existing best practice.
ENFORCE a trained best practice.
The typical, 10-member triage team will sort (not solve), size, and prioritize about 20 improvements per workshop from 30 pain points. Every proposal is believable and has strategic fit.
Design changes Each triage generates a Process Triage Profile™, much like a personality profile like Meyers-Briggs or DISC®. This profile highlights how much best practice design work is needed compared to training and enforcing existing best practices. This gives improvement leaders a clear-eyed understanding about what they face in reaching their goals. You cannot scale a process with design issues — you’ll just create crap faster if you hit the gas. If the focus is training and enforcement, it’s all about people and resource management.
Doing what’s needed. The triage workshop’s Host writes the post-triage implementation plan and submits this to the Sponsor. (Our certified facilitator coaches as needed.) This plan should be signature ready and executable when approved.
Radical truth and radical transparency sounds good. We know it works when we create an expert facilitated space for teams to experience it respectfully and emphatically.
If your core process team welcomes an immersion in this, give us a call.
https://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.png00Joseph Rosenbergerhttps://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.pngJoseph Rosenberger2018-01-10 15:46:562018-01-10 16:05:00Process Triaging syncs with Ray Dalio's Life Principles (5-Steps)
When you set new performance goals, consider stress testing the business processes that deliver the goals.
Process Triaging is a good way do this testing.
The triage findings — all generated by your own experts, indicate the types and sizes of improvement proposals your team says it will take to meet your goals.
Process Triaging generates an improvement proposal to address a pain point that inhibits your, and your team’s goals.
Each improvement proposal is triaged to one of four solutions: ANALYZE if the likely cause is not obvious, DESIGN a best practice that addresses the pain, TRAIN (or learn) an existing best practice , and/or ENFORCE a best practice.
The first two — ANALYZE and DESIGN indicate a process design focus. Unless the process is designed better, additional cycles will just produce more — crap. The profile below shows a triage profile with 88% of the improvement work focused on analyzing pain points (36%) and designing best practices (52%). Almost half of the improvements Big Now project-size efforts — lots of stressful heavy lifting. This profile is common to start-ups or established companies who have big-gap growth objectives.
52% Small Now’s, 48% Big Now’s, 36% Analyze’s, 52% Design’s, 12% Train’s, No Enforces
At the other end of the scale, a triage profile with mostly TRAIN & ENFORCE existing best practices indicates the process doesn’t have significant design issues. The focus is mostly people and logistics — right people in right seats. The profile below is one of a franchise-quality shop. Most of the best practices are in place. The team’s stresses will be resource management — on-boarding new hires and focused process supervision.
This profile has 94% Train and/or Enforce Best Practices — entirely scalable.
When you reset your strategic objectives, consider ‘stress testing’ your core processes to manage everyone’s expectations and make sure you’re working on the enabling improvements first.
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.
https://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.png00Joseph Rosenbergerhttps://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.pngJoseph Rosenberger2017-06-05 09:18:562017-06-05 13:14:08People Like Us .... Build Continuously Better Teams
We’ve known for some time why executives sponsor our team triaging workshop, succinctly listed by EOS® Implementer Jonathan Smith.
The Core ‘Driveshaft’ Process is Unclear
This process is too complex
The process works inconsistently
The process’s lack of clarity is creating chaos
They need stakeholder buy-in and ownership to change it
They are in a lot of pain
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 participants are the sponsor’s own Go-To Experts, who live and breathe 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.
https://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.png00Joseph Rosenbergerhttps://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.pngJoseph Rosenberger2017-05-23 11:20:242017-12-03 16:10:38The Latest Data on Our Triaging Workshop Satisfactions.
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.
https://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.png00Joseph Rosenbergerhttps://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.pngJoseph Rosenberger2017-04-05 15:01:522017-04-05 15:09:05The Ultimate Thank You Note...
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:
Analyzefor 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!),
Trainthis 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.
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
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?
https://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.png00Joseph Rosenbergerhttps://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.pngJoseph Rosenberger2017-01-02 22:02:142017-01-06 21:06:39What's Your Process's Triage Profile?