I’ve posted a short video How to Read our Process Triage Maps — the essentials in about six minutes. I review the process triage results notation afterwards. This includes an overview of process triaging.
One of the more popular deliverables of our Process Triage workshop is the Action-Result style process map. The map is an easy-to-build and read illustration of the triage team’s process. It’s designed to last one to three years with occasional cosmetic updates. It shows the essential tasks and their outcomes, typically from Opportunity to Cash — from the first conversation with an interested prospect all the way to payment for products or services.
We had the privilege to triage with Goosetown Communications, in Congers, New York in mid-2017. David Gottlieb sponsored and Jason Schlesinger hosted and led the implementation. They’re also running on EOS®, a branded operating system we enthusiastically support based on our experience with post-triage successes.
While planning a triage on a different process, I noticed Jason’s triage map behind him during our video call. It’s fascinating —
After successfully implementing the Process Capability Improvements that our Process Triage developed for us, I discovered that the large Process Map that I had hung up on my office wall could serve an additional purpose. It could be the perfect visual aid for tracking project status throughout the Process. I took some sticky pad notes and quickly wrote down some job names and numbers and stuck them up on the wall to indicate where they were in the Process. As the jobs progressed, I would move the sticky note down the map until completed. Within a few weeks, I had close to 100 sticky notes plastered across the map.Jason Schlesinger, Goosetown Communications.
Two things became immediately apparent:
I, or anyone else in my office, could swing around in my chair and quickly see the general status of any particular project. If more specifics were needed, I could always look the job up in our CRM software, but for a quick at-a-glance look, this was by far the fastest way to review large quantities of projects in short order.
Much like pain-points become clustered together in problematic parts of the Process during our Triage, I also noticed that I could quickly see at which part of the process jobs were stalling, and allocate labor accordingly. If I had sticky notes of several jobs stuck in the “punch-list” phase, or the “order parts” phase, I could check in with those departments to encourage the backlog to move along more efficiently.
The Process Triage map, which is so helpful in keeping jobs moving through the Process, now also serves as a means for me to quickly track the status of those jobs within the same Process.
For Jason’s size of company — with scores of custom engineering and installation in process, here’s a way to show projects-in-process, from opportunity all the way to cash.
If you’re a custom manufacturer or construction trades contractor, with about scores of jobs in progress, consider Jason’s approach.
We welcome your call.
Buyers and investors in businesses insist on factual proof that the company is scalable. Scalability comes from processes that have a scalable design (execution) and a scalable operating system (support and oversight). Process Triaging is an effective way to stress test a company’s core processes and assess scalability. An additional deliverable of this stress test includes a set of process improvement proposals for immediate action that, when implemented, improve the business’s scalability.
Process Triaging also exposes key person concentration risks. It provides a framework for identifying key person understudies and pre- or post-sale staffing requirements.
For more info, shoot us a note.
A lot of your executive leader effort focuses on championing your enterprise’s goals — what you measurably want to achieve, and your culture — how you want to go about, in terms of motives, morays, and morals.
Physically and tactically, this involves designing, building, and sustaining scalable business processes (how valuable things get made) and the expert teams that run them. Well designed processes deliver business results when trained and enforced. They are repeatable, scalable, sustainable, and affordable. If you design your processes to express your culture and values, they will achieve this as well, remembering culture trumps everything, but cash pays for it, and processes deliver it.
The idea is to get your business processes right, then staff, train, and run these processes with go-to teams of individual skill experts who, together, can continually improve the process. Bottoms up. With every improvement course-correcting closer to your goals, objectives, and culture.
It means those experts closest to the work are responsible for improving the work processes. Not you — not top down. It’s work you must find a way to delegate.
You must provide your process teams with two things your executive position gives you by virtue of your top-of-the-pyramid position: situational awareness and emotional empathy.
Situational awareness is knowing how everything in the business model fits and the dependencies between things – for example, from how a raw lead is generated, then handed off to sales and then on to fulfillment and ultimately accounts receivable to post the cash. It’s being aware of tools and technologies and who and what does what, and how all these things consume or create cash. Situational awareness is necessary for process triaging, and nothing expresses this awareness like a well crafted process map, one designed for issue processing. The best triaging map uses the terms and language of your go-to team members who live the process. This ensures their situational awareness is expressed in a clear and common language, and issues triage quickly.
Emotional Empathy includes the ability to understand and anticipate how teammates personally impact each other in and by their process. Team members are the more fulfilled, purposeful and productive — yes, happy, when others understand what they need and do, and vice versa. They know — on an emotional level, how what they do affects those down stream, as well as when to reach upstream and share insights that will help things run better. This empathy is developed by solving process problems — triaging together, collaboratively defining and measuring process pain points and working through solutions. In the plainest language, it means when it comes to core business processes, the teams that live in them must own the performance monitoring and issue processing. It has to be delegated out of the executive suite.
When we delegate this successfully, day-to-day operational problems are handled with a more nuanced, technically feasible and emotionally supportive solutions, all with strategic fit. The executive team has more time available for exclusively executive work, such as business development and longer horizon opportunities.
That’s what Process Triaging does. It gives teams situational awareness and develops emotional empathy — two things master executives provide their highest performing teams.
“Where Were You When?” (WWYW) moments bind us together. They are a generation’s touchstone and cement a shared identity. My parent’s generation included December 7, 1941 — Pearl Harbor and June 6, 1944 — D-Day.
My first WWYW moment was fifty-five years ago today, Nov 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy’s assassination at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. I was nine years old, in the 4th grade, in Ft. Sumner, New Mexico. It was a Friday. Mrs. Bulalee Herring was my teacher — a strict but fair teacher as I remember her — a pit bull in a poodle suit. We had returned to class after the lunch period and she was delayed. (Mrs. Herring was never late, only delayed.) She had been crying and was very upset. She instructed us to gather up our things and coats, as school was dismissing early; the school buses were on their way. She said President Kennedy had been assassinated.
One of my classmates raised their hands and asked “What is assassinated?”
Mrs. Herring said he had been shot and killed. She said this would be a very important few days to remember.
How true she was. We gathered spell-bound around our black and white RCA television and watched. Our village received one VHF channel, KBIM out of Roswell, New Mexico. We watched Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald. We watched the president’s funeral procession and John John’s salute.
I was leading a Process Mapping / Triaging session at Sprint Corporation when 9/11 happened. We gathered around a television monitor in a break room and all the feelings of my childhood’s “Where Were You When” day flooded my emotions. I sent everyone home, explaining, “This is your generation’s Pearl Harbor. Your Kennedy Assassination. Clear your calendar and watch it carefully, as it will be permanently imprinted. It may change the political course of your generation.” And it did.
My most treasured WWYW moment, by the way, is when I saw a stunningly beautiful young woman tending a breakfast bar in college. It wasn’t love at first sight, but it was definitely “Someone Really Different at First Sight.” She’s still amazing after 41 years of putting up with me.
Process Triaging is a supportive, complementary team development practice with branded business operating systems, like The Great Game of Business (GGOB). We were privileged to host a booth at this year’s annual Gathering of Games in September, in Dallas. If you want to know more about GGOB, read the book (minimum) or attend a Get in the Game Workshop (Rosey’s recommendation).
ForbesBooks Radio broadcaster Gregg Stebben interviewed Rosey about Business Process Triaging and how it supports the GGOB. It’s an excellent overview of process triaging and concludes with how it bolts into GGOB.
We’re a big fan of GGOB and Open Book Management. It teaches business literacy at all levels of a company. That knowledge develops entrepreneurship which is the creative engine of American’s future.
Is it bragging if you can do it?
The Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS®) includes a proven best practice when holding meetings. Participants grade the meeting at its conclusion on a scale of 1 to 10; 10 being this highest score, meeting or exceeding all expectations. I’m told from EOS® Implementers that a score of 8 or better is solid work. “Ten” is over-the-top-excellent.
The Process Triage participants scored (below) our all-day workshop as part of the sponsor’s closing remarks. They are our client’s go-to subject matter experts. We process triaged one of their most strategically important functions. The agenda included collaborative process mapping, a Process Capability Goal review, nominating Pain Points that inhibit this goal, then process triaging these pain points into solution proposals. Finally, they ranked these proposals and signed up to mentor their implementation.
It’s an intense day, built on delegating and elevating those who are closest to the work to improve the work flow across the whole team.
For reasons of confidentiality, I can’t mention the client or their process, but here’s a photo of the scores.
By the way, the most successful post-Process Triage improvement implementers are running on EOS®.
EOS® is a registered trademark of EOS Worldwide, Inc.
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 deliberately sort (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
One of our company’s core values is leaving every customer with a referable quality touch. Every time, every touch.
We also want to give back to our communities. For example, when it makes sense, we waive our workshop fees if the triaging enterprise helps children. Like Dr. Melanie Macrorie’s team at Autism From the Start (an amazing autistic preschool) or Lee Nasehi’s crew at Lighthouse Central Florida (vision impaired), or Denise Gurule’s shop at FeedAmerica San Deigo, or Lonnie Vanderclise and Kelly Wilson’s amazing work at Weave Gotcha Covered, a work release program reuniting moms with their families.
At the writing of this post, there is a media storm about separating one in six children of adult foreign citizens who attempt to trespass into the United States with their minor children* (five of six children were already separated when their parents sent them with, or are trafficked by other adults).
Under current law (decades old), the adults are queued to Homeland Security processing and their minor children are queued to Health and Human Services (HHS), an arrangement codified and enforced for many years. Parents and children are usually reunited promptly (the same day typically) unless an adult trespasser claims asylum, at which point HHS may only care and protect the children for 20 days — likely less than the asylum process. It can get messy, but this separation was entirely the result of the trespasser’s choosing and our amazing American compassion for the downtrodden. We separate children at the southern border if a familial or custodial relationship cannot be established (fraud), if there is suspicion that the children are victims of human trafficking, or if the adult is referred for prosecution for illegal entry.
So let’s fix it. We need to agree on what the process is (as codified in the law), then triage it against a capability goal that, if delivered, fulfills our core values. I will personally facilitate the triage.
What we know from hundreds of Process Triage workshops is any process under siege will benefit from a triage session, similar to a medical facility during a mass casualty event. Triaging determines the type of treatment or solution and queues these solutions to address the most urgent and efficacious first.
We’ll need an Executive Sponsor and the smartest, go-to, believable experts who live and work the process. I have no doubts we can stack a list of implementable improvements of what to fix first, consistent with our national values, responsibilities, and compassions.
* There is no such thing as an illegal immigrant. Immigrant is a status assigned to a foreign or alien citizen recognized by our Immigration and Naturalization Service; a status granted by our sovereign government, and not self-assigned by the person seeking to immigrate or mislabeled by a private citizen or confused media. If one does not have immigrant status, one is respectfully assumed to be a foreign citizen. And one should be treated with the respect, terms and conditions according to our laws and treaties — just as we wish respect when traveling abroad. If we break another sovereign nation’s visitation laws, we should expect to be treated as they see fit.
It’s always great to receive Process Triage workshop feedback from our sponsors. We were privileged to triage with MRI Global, a long-established research and development institution, headquartered in Kansas City. Tom Sack’s at the helm and offered the following insights after their triage:
We fully embraced TQM to support our efforts to improve processes and continually improve our operations. TQM proved to be very valuable for us and I am delighted to see the ProcessTriage take the TQM approach to the next level. Where TQM would have taken us weeks to get to a prioritized list of improvement activities, ProcessTriage got us there in 1 day…while not glossing over topics or issues. I applaud the ProcessTriage team for creating a robust, thorough and organized approach to process improvement that fits the pace of today’s business environment.
TQM — Total Quality Management is some industrial strength stuff. So to be favorably associated with that body of knowledge, and bringing something more to that party is pleasing.
ProcessTriage — faster than a TQM!