Pic - Man with flowchartIt is a truth universally acknowledged that two heads are better than one; a particularly pertinent truth when it comes to producing and improving your processes.  This should not be a lonely job for a fevered scribe in a darkened office.   It’s time to tap into the creativity and specific knowledge of the people who do the work – the team!

A well designed process takes account of every aspect, input and output, so it makes sense to consult all the people involved.  One of the best ways to do this is to gather all relevant people together for a facilitated brainstorming session.  Brainstorming should be an informal and creative way of generating ideas, and can also be great fun.

For any brainstorming session it’s important to set a clear objective.  When looking at processes the objective will be very clear from the outset, whether it’s to clarify an existing, but unwritten procedure; to create a new one; to solve an issue that has arisen (such as a customer complaint); to identify the root cause of a problem or to make improvements and reduce costs, etc.

It is vital that everyone feels that they have equal input and a good mix of experience and knowledge is essential. Whilst more experienced people may have a better understanding of the problem, new staff may have a different perspective or experience of a similar issue from a previous job. Senior people may seem imposing to more junior staff, but it’s important that the people who are carrying out the day-to-day work have a chance to put forward their thoughts on how to improve the procedure.

Facilitated brainstorming can highlight areas of duplication, iron out issues between different teams or departments, provide a greater understanding to staff of how the business works, identify the root cause of problems and encourage everyone’s commitment to getting it right. Ultimately it’s about improving the business and ensuring that staff have an opportunity to be involved.

A suggestion box is another good way of getting people involved. It may elicit a list of preferred biscuits for visitors, but it also creates an opportunity for less confident staff to make a suggestion that could dramatically improve the business.

This is a dynamic way to engage your team in the workings of the business. Communication is, as always, key.  It is important to show people the fruits of their labour and show them how their ideas are being implemented. Not only will they feel ownership of the process, but you will also get the best picture of what actually works.

To download our fact sheet ‘How to Draft a Flow Chart’ click here.

 

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