Good processes govern every task complicated enough to be significant to our lives. The design and implementation of processes enable your garbage to be collected on a timely basis, the subway to arrive and depart on time, and the place in which you work to be profitable enough to pay you.
Process design isn’t easy however. Good processes are birthed from lessons from the implementation of bad ones along with many iterative improvements and tests to the one being implemented. There will be instances in which you’re caught up within a process which was incorrectly implemented; suffering the burden of being a stakeholder or step in a process which does not achieve what it was designed to.
The realization that you’re stuck in a process that does not work is a stressful one. Pride in your work may falter and motivation to complete tasks to the best of your ability will decrease. This article is a tool for you to use to encourage change in processes which you’ve realized do not function appropriately.
Gather Evidence for Worsened Outcomes or Timelines
The first step to enacting a change in a process which you’re not the manager of is to gather evidence for how it creates delays or worsens outcomes.
One way to gather evidence is to compare the current process with a previous or alternative one. For example, if you work in a customer service department and the new process requires you to fill out a lengthy form for every complaint, you can measure how much time it takes to complete the form and how many complaints you can handle per day. You can also compare the customer satisfaction ratings before and after the change. This way, you can show how the new process affects your productivity and quality of service.
Another way to gather evidence is to solicit feedback from other stakeholders or steps in the process. For instance, if you are a teacher and the new process requires you to submit lesson plans for approval every week, you can ask your colleagues and students how they feel about the change. You can also observe how the process impacts your creativity and flexibility in teaching. This way, you can show how the new process affects your morale and student engagement.
A third way to gather evidence is to identify the root causes of the problems in the process. For example, if you are a nurse and the new process requires you to use a different software system for patient records, you can analyze how the system works and what errors or difficulties it causes. You can also document how the new system affects your workflow and communication with other staff. This way, you can show how the new software system within the newly implemented process affects your accuracy and safety.
Encourage Discomfort on Important Stakeholders’ Part
Identify which stakeholders hold power in enacting change to the process in question. Identify affected stakeholders and exactly how the process in question affects outcomes which are personal and important to them.
One way to encourage discomfort on important stakeholders’ part is to present them with data and evidence that show how the process is failing to meet its goals and expectations. For example, if the process is supposed to reduce waste and increase efficiency, but instead it leads to more errors and delays, you can use metrics and reports to highlight the discrepancies and gaps. By showing them the negative impacts of the process on their own interests and responsibilities, you can motivate them to seek improvement and change.
Another way to encourage discomfort is to solicit feedback and opinions from stakeholders who are affected by the process, such as customers, suppliers, or employees. You can use surveys, interviews, or focus groups to gather their perspectives and experiences with the process. You can then share these insights with the important stakeholders and show them how the process is harming their reputation and relationships. By exposing them to the voices and views of others, you can challenge their assumptions and biases about the process.
A third way to encourage discomfort is to propose alternative solutions or scenarios that demonstrate how the process could be improved or replaced. You can use benchmarks, best practices, or case studies to illustrate how other organizations or teams have successfully implemented similar processes. You can also use simulations, prototypes, or pilots to test and compare different options for the process. By showing them the potential benefits and outcomes of changing the process, you can inspire them to take action and embrace innovation.
More Iterations Expose Processes To Be Picked Apart
As someone close to the process in question, you may have been early to realize its inaccuracies and deficiencies. As more iterations of the process play out, the likelihood that others affected by this process will realize its inaccuracies and ineffectiveness will increase.
If the aforementioned methods of drawing attention to the faulty process fail, increasing its iterations may be effective in publicizing its inaccuracies. Encouraging a faulty process to be judged by more eyes and opinions will bring its inaccuracies to the forefront.
One way to increase the iterations of a faulty process is to involve more stakeholders in its execution. By inviting feedback from people who are not directly affected by the process, but have some interest or influence in its outcome, you can expose the flaws and gaps that need to be addressed. For example, if you are part of a process that involves creating a marketing campaign for a new product, you can ask for input from the sales team, the customer service team, and the product development team. They may have different perspectives and insights that can help you improve the process and make it more effective.
Another way to increase the iterations of a faulty process is to test it under different scenarios and conditions. By changing some variables or parameters of the process, you can see how it performs in different situations and identify potential problems or risks. For example, if you are part of a process that involves delivering a service to a client, you can test it under different time constraints, quality standards, or customer expectations. You may discover that the process is too rigid or too flexible, and needs to be adjusted accordingly.
Compare the processes in question with other processes that have similar goals or functions. By benchmarking your process against best practices or industry standards, you can evaluate its strengths and weaknesses and learn from others’ experiences. For example, if you are part of a process that involves hiring new employees, you can compare it with other processes that have proven to be successful in attracting and retaining talent. You may find that your process is missing some key steps or criteria, and needs to be updated or revised.