Process Management Pathways and Pitfalls
By: Jim Clemmer
Jim Clemmer is an international keynote speaker, workshop leader, author, and president of The CLEMMER Group, a North American network of organization, team, and personal improvement consultants based in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. His other bestsellers include Firing on All Cylinders: The Service/Quality System for High-Powered Corporate Performance, and his most recent book, Growing the Distance: Timeless Principles for Personal, Career, and Family Success. His web site is http://www.clemmer.net/
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"A process is only as strong as its weakest think."
- Make sure all your process improvement activities are clearly and tightly
linked to your strategic imperatives. Each effort should also have highly
focused and specific improvement goals (that are an aggressive, major stretch)
and measurements. Establish feedback and follow up steps for each process
management and improvement team.
- Keep everyone educated and updated on all your process improvement activities.
Make it all as transparent and widely available as possible. Reduce apathy
and resistance by increasing your education and communication efforts.
- Don't let specialists and consultants do theoretical reengineering in isolation
and then launch it into the organization. A national retailer hired high
priced consultants to reengineer their logistics (ordering, warehousing,
shipping, and invoicing) process. The new process made sense on paper,
but those who had to make it work felt cast aside. Since they didn't own
the new approach, it wasn't too hard to "demonstrate" that the
consultants' process didn't work.
- Reengineering is becoming the new mantra for frustrated strategic planners
who are putting this new label on their old ineffective approach. Elite
groups of senior managers, hands-off staff people, technology specialists,
and assorted experts study, analyze, and plan major changes. With more
focus on theoretical planning than implementation, they go for big breakthroughs
with radical organization changes and major investments in sophisticated
- Getting wide scale involvement in mapping out and dramatically improving
(or developing a consensus to radically redesign) the existing process
is seen as too slow and not bold enough. But those theoretical changes
generally prove to be impractical in the real world. And those who aren't
involved in planning the battle can be counted on to battle the plan. This
elitist, expert, planning-driven approach rarely works.
- Don't develop your own internal, home made version of process management.
We've seen too many poorly designed attempts at process management. Designing
your own makes about as much sense today as trying to manufacture your
own computer system or write your own software programs. Like information
technology, the management science of process management has come a long
way in a few short years. It's become an extensive field onto itself (hundreds
of books are now available on various aspects of the expanding topic).
- A multitude of well-researched and designed process management training
packages and consulting services is available. However, like an information
technology system, process management packages and services do need to
be tailored to your unique needs. And you need to develop the internal
expertise to support and continue evolving your process management technology
with your consulting firm's help.
- Successful process management demands prioritization, organization, discipline, and a systematic approach. How's yours? You can't build a team or organization that's different than you are. Undisciplined and disorganized managers can't build disciplined and organized teams.
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© Copyright 2001 The CLEMMER Group
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