The Unexpected Benefits of Process Improvement

We have completed Process Advantage (PA) with countless client teams over the years.  As anticipated, organizations and teams come away with the benefits of improved cycle time for the targeted system, financial savings, employee time savings and improved morale. But time and again, teams have noticed some unexpected benefits that are even at times more encouraging than those that they expected.  We felt it time to share some of those not-so-obvious bonuses from completing process improvement that can have powerful positive repercussions in organizations:

  • man-gb0864e78c_1920-300x212.jpgThe breaking down of the silo effect. Silos in organizations are the departments, divisions, even cliques that operate independently and avoid sharing information whether intentionally or not. Most employees are focused on the part of the work process that they own or the functional department they work in. They rarely focus on the overall process start to finish that delivers the product or service to the customer. Hence, the sub-processes often don’t mesh well. Further, there can be a lack of cooperation needed to improve the process, because everyone is focused on protecting their piece, protecting what is. With Process Advantage, the team is made up of individuals throughout the process, therefore, throughout the different departments, cliques and silos.  They look at the whole process, not just their piece and clearly see the potential and the problems, particularly those caused by silos. Their mindset changes and the silos begin to come down.
  • Increased self-awareness. The Process Advantage series of workshops are not simple classroom learning events.  At PGS, we place high value on experiential learning, particularly through games. These experiences help people gain insight into the limits they have placed on themselves and the teams they work with or supervise, limits that have no actual basis in reality or what’s truly possible. When individuals and teams eliminate those limits, they open up the door to make so much more possible in themselves, their teams and work processes.
  • The power of self-determination. We insist that management allow those who are currently doing the work to be the ones to work on the PA teams and create the new system.  Management learns through this experience to trust that those who are doing the work are capable of innovation themselves and that they are able to make the new process work. Over the two to three days of our design conferences where new systems are created and rubs/problems removed, I have seen employees come in beaten down by the rigors of work and the constraints of existing systems. And I also see them, after completing the conference, leave with a process of their own creation that they won’t let anyone stand in the way of, as they begin implementation. Imagine the effect that has on morale, loyalty, productivity. Immeasurable. What leadership needs to do is support the teams with necessary policy change, investment and/or simple backing of their improved systems.
  • The power of teamwork. Experiencing the joys of success while working with fellow employees you have not cooperated or worked closely with before with before is huge. One attendee at a recent design conference, noted: “This process was invaluable for team building.” The real sense of “team” is one of the true pleasures of work, but it’s all too rare.

There are others, to be sure.  But the consistent unexpected benefits over the years of completing Process Advantage  with clients are these four.  We encourage you to engage with us soon on a free Discovery Assessment to see if there is a good match between your organization and Process Advantage that can leave you with both the expected and the unexpected benefits of a successful process improvement.