ReThink Productivity Podcast

Sustaining Process Improvement and Driving Positive Change

November 19, 2023 ReThink Productivity Season 1 Episode 140
ReThink Productivity Podcast
Sustaining Process Improvement and Driving Positive Change
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever wondered what it takes to sustain process improvement in your organization and why it's so crucial? Do you need the secrets to driving good behaviours and creating a transformational shift within your company? Craig shares his views on how organizations can build and sustain process improvement initiatives, and the vital role of regular measurement in justifying these initiatives.

We delve into the concept of health scores and how they can be utilized to track organizational processes and metrics, fueling engagement and comparison of data. We also explore how gamification can drive positive behaviour in a fun and exciting manner.

FREE DOWNLOAD: SIMPLE STEPS TO HEALTHIER, HAPPIER PROCESSES

#theproductivityexperts
Register for the Produtivity Forum 2024
Follow us on Twitter @Rethinkp
Connect to Simon on LinkedIn
Follow ReThink on LinkedIn

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Productivity Podcast. Today I'm delighted to have a returning guest. We've got Craig Willis, who is CEO at Score. Hi, craig.

Speaker 2:

Hi, simon, great to be back.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, welcome back. It's been a while since you came on and, with that in mind, it's probably pertinent if you can give the listeners a quick overview of what Score is, in case they've not listened to that episode and they want to go and find it, or in case it's completely new.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so Score is a process improvement platform that organisations use to build and establish a process library standardised processes and then continuously improve off the back of that. The focus of Score is really about engaging with people in the business, so bringing the sort of human centric aspect of processes, making processes user-friendly, intuitive, to use, easy to find so that they support people doing their jobs and, as I said, forming a foundation for process improvement for the whole organisation.

Speaker 1:

An online platform that you can share and collaborate in.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. I mean you can collaborate with teams to document, create new processes, analyse those processes, as you say, share and manage those and gather feedback so that you, you know, so that the teams can incrementally or transformationally improve the way the organisation works.

Speaker 1:

Good. So you know, it goes without saying, you kind of know what we do. But process, documentation of process, consistent application of processor the Holy Grail for most organisations in whether that be retail, office, manufacturing, supply chain, whatever that might be. So what kind of problems are you seeing or what kind of themes are you talking about with your clients or potential clients?

Speaker 2:

Well, exactly Everyone we speak to is aiming to standardise processes and also train people on those processes or not just people, but nowadays obviously machines and AI as well. But the challenge that most organisations seem to face is how do they actually build, embed and sustain that sort of process improvement initiative or process management initiatives for the long term? You know they can. Often the build phase is the one that sort of gets all of the focus. That's when they go out and figure out what the processes are and, you know, go through that exercise to document and standardise them. But so often what happens is things kind of stop at that point and it becomes very, very difficult to then keep those processes up to date and continue to build on them. And what a lot of organisations end up doing is go through the exercise of documenting all the processes. They sit on the shelf to gather dust and then the next time someone picks them up they're so out of date that they've basically got to start all over again. I'm guessing you will see that with your customers.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so there'll be a programme, a project that's kicked off, which is around, like you say, documenting all these processes, getting them all in one central repository, etc. Etc. That work happens certainly in retail hospitality. People move jobs very quickly so that person may move to another function. Therefore they're defunct. They maybe haven't got a way of sharing them or collaborating, maybe it's in a tool where you need a license and an install on a local machine or laptop. So again that gets lost in the, the transition or translation. And back to your point a couple years later somebody else comes back around and says oh, we've got to document the process and to some degree repeat yeah, and I mean it's not like we're short of online tools available to share things.

Speaker 2:

I think the real problem I see there's two sort of key problems here. One is how do you engage people on a sort of day-to-day basis in keeping processes up-to-date and, you know, improving them, because processes kind of aren't really that exciting and they don't really change massively or very quickly. But the problem is is when you don't keep them up-to-date regularly, then obviously as time passes, those changes do get quite bigger, which is why you then end up having to redo them. So I see that as an engagement problem. And then the other kind of key problem I think we certainly often see with a lot of our customers is creating some sort of clear line of sight from, you know, the board or the or the exact leadership team, right down to the sort of day-to-day tasks that the staff are doing. And it goes back to that thing that you know. That initial exercise to document, standardize the processes can be quite exciting because it often requires a significant investment of time and money. But it's also where some of the the biggest opportunities for improvement get found. But the challenge is, once you've kind of got over that hump, you know, continuous improvement is often more preventative, and so it doesn't. It's not always as kind of exciting. So you know, when you're measuring, say, at a high level, the progress of your process improvement activities is often to do with, well, how many processes have we documented and reviewed? And once you sort of hit those targets, it then becomes difficult to measure what improvements you're making because, as I said, if they're preventative you're not necessarily seeing a An improvement, but you're certainly avoiding major problems, risks and costs in the future. But it's not easy to see that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think for those continuous improvement departments, they're always under pressure to justify their existence Exactly. There's an easy cost cutting to say, well, you know, we'll streamline that department, we'll move that department on, whatever it might be, and you need that fact based. You know, if you can cover the salary as a minimum of that department each year, then you justify your existence. You should be clearly striving for more than that. But if it's cost neutral, why wouldn't you carry on?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, exactly, and I think what you need, or what teams need to be doing, is measuring more. I like to think of it is if you think about how personal health, if you want to get healthier, you don't just go for one run or eat one salad, although that's a good start, we often find that we struggle to again sustain that type of positive behaviour that you really need to make on a long term. You know, traditionally you'd be sort of trying to go on your diet and probably weighing yourself on a dodgy old pair of scales once a week or so, and the challenge with that is that it's really hard to see progress, so it's really hard to see the impact of those changes that you're trying to make. It takes such a long time to lose weight. If that's the aim of you, know that you're trying to the goal that you're trying to reach, because nowadays it's much, much easier, because we've got our smartphones, we've got our fitness trackers, so we tend to be, when you're looking to get healthy, you tend to be tracking the calories that you're taking in, you're tracking the exercise that you're doing, your truck, you're tracking your weight, you're probably tracking sleep patterns and heart rate and all of those different things, and so you can. You can immediately start to see an impact just in the data from. You know the efforts that you're making, so you're much more encouraged to take those positive actions and to do them much more regularly. You know, to kind of to achieve those goals.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that makes sense and I think there's there's also a bit, isn't there around where you focus your time. So the scale and the sensitivity of those processes if you, if you, shave two minutes off a process that takes five minutes only happens once a year, yeah, that's all well and cool, but actually if you save 10 seconds off a process that happens 30 million times a year, you can see a much greater reward and benefit.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and that comes down to analysis, doesn't it? And? But, yeah, sometimes I think that's where, when we measure processes today, we we perhaps spend a bit too much time focused on on the KPIs and PPI. So, the key performance indicators, or the process performance indicators, where we're looking at how people adhere to a process or the cost savings, is you point out there if you're performing some sort of analysis? And they're all really, really important? Of course they are, but to me they're almost a little bit like the standing on the scales once a week. In many ways, the health tracker, the personal health tracker, and the ability to see all of that data now helps us understand how all the different things we do influence each other to be able to To reach the goals, and so we see that very much the same way with with processes. So if you, if you, if you're taking the time to To document your processes yes, the key performance indicator if you're looking at the sales process, what's the contract value or the number of opportunities closed, those those are really key. But if you, if you've invested in documenting and standardizing that process, you want to be able to sustain that over the time, you've also got to start looking at things like you know how we have we updated that document recently. Have as people? Have people been using that document? Have we provided the right type of information For people, such as you know? Is the process owner clearly identified? Is the purpose of that process clearly show? You know, there's all sorts of information that we could be you can pull together To be able to just as you can with your personal fitness tracker really get a feel for what's actually happening with you with that process documentation. And how is that Impacting on both the key performance indicators and the process performance indicators, process health exactly, exactly that.

Speaker 1:

So that kind of gets me thinking about, if you think in modern organizations probably industry agnostic almost we've got lots of labor turn Pay inflation. I think there's, you know, stats that are bandied around around more for every one person that you employ. There's one point for people that leave an organization at scale. So this whole process, health must play back in then to onboarding New colleagues and making sure you're training them in the correct process rather than just inheriting broken or interpretive process at a local level.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and that comes back to that sort of sustainability of the of the documentation, because the worst thing that can happen is when those new people come into the organization and Processes are hard to find. If they can find them there, they're out of date. And what often happens is that even if even if they're not out of date, then overly complicated or difficult to read. And you know, keeping engaging people in this process, creation and ongoing update and improvement of the process is, yeah, it's gotta be more interesting than just here go and read this, this documentation. So you know that's what we look to. What we aim to do is to track all of those health metrics the ones I mentioned before as well as numerous other ones, and so we can show to users what the score of that process or any individual process might be. So you get this ability to them sort of compare them. And if you think about that again, going back to the fitness tracking apps, one of the things that's quite common is people sharing those through social media saying, hey, look, I did a 5k run earlier or I went for the cycle ride and you sort of you also have this kind of sort of bit of pride of your involvement in that and doing that, but also comparing that to other people. So that's a sort of key part to that. Engaging people is giving them that. So giving that data, that health data of the process is to everybody, so they're much more aware of what happens. But then the other problem that I mentioned before, which is this ability to have this kind of line of sight from the leadership or exact team right down to what's happening on on a daily basis. I mean, this is exactly the same challenge. I was talking to a, a CIO just last week who said he said, craig, you know the problem when we're in a board meeting and somebody says you know what we need to do, we need to go and figure out all our processes and standardize them as the first step. And he said everyone always nods their heads but nobody really knows how to actually go out and do that. And so what we aim to do with the health scores is to basically take that low level health score that we're looking at on a process by process basis and roll that up to, you know, an executive level, departmental level, whatever that needs to be, so the different senior execs can start to look at well, how is my part of the organization or my processes within my part of the organization comparing against others and then the ability to sort of set targets for the whole group so that you know, so that again everyone can see how the whole organization is performing and if there's a dip anywhere, what do we need to do to go and bring that back up again.

Speaker 1:

So engagement is a key part then, like, say, kind of surfacing that information to the execs so they can start to see it, but also, then I don't know, gamification. Is it so making, like you said, sharing stuff on social but also making it interactive? Are there leaderboards, that kind of stuff that get people excited?

Speaker 2:

Exactly so. You know, as you get down through the organization, different teams and sort of management layers can then sort of compare against each other how they're doing. And we've certainly seen this just within our own team, different groups getting together and posting on our internal social networks and hey, look, here's my score. And what we do is we set a target for the whole company and then different teams are sort of trying to compete with each other to hit or exceed that target. And you straight away see the sort of change in behavior. Because when someone starts posting saying, hey, look at my score, it's sort of everyone else is like, oh wonder what mine is. And they dive in and have a look at theirs. And then it's like, well, what do I need to do to get my score up? And you know that it goes back to those good behaviors. It's good behaviors like well, you know, going and looking at the process at the very least, if you haven't looked at it for a while providing some sort of feedback to show that you've understood it and that it's perhaps changed. And then you know, right through to the whole governance piece of actually updating and publishing new versions of the process, all of those things help to push that score up, and so you know we're doing it for a bit of fun, but it's actually really helping us keep the processes up to date.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I'm making sure that it's not just an expensive documentation exercise, that you then end up incurring the same cost and maybe coming out with, unfortunately, the same outcome X or Y years later.

Speaker 2:

Exactly and avoid, as I said before, so much of continuous process. Improvement is about preventative activity and so making sure those things are happening. And of course, it's not just that right If you've got a well documented set of processes that are up to date, it's also a brilliant foundation for transformation. So if the organization is going to go off in a different direction or you want to access a new market or introduce new products, that sort of thing, you've got this amazing foundation that's already very dynamic and able to move and bend and respond very quickly to changes that the organization faces Excellent, okay.

Speaker 1:

So just to summarize then and tell me if I've got it right, so it gives us a good foundation to build on, as you've said there. So the basis for that ongoing process improvement. We can start to get under the skin of process health and understand those different data points and bits of information that give us that kind of health check that then leads us into the whole engagement piece with the exact team down to the colleagues in the organization, with clear targets but also that element of gamification. So it becomes a bit more fun, a bit more interactive. It's not just a and I'll say it because people are probably thinking it a boring, old process. It comes to life a bit more and helps us keep it alive. Exactly that Perfect. So if people are interested in this and they think, yeah, been there, done that. We're just doing another mapping exercise that's going to get lost in the year through time, or we've done one and people are talking about doing another one and I'm worried we're going to end up in the same place. Where's the best place for them to get hold of you or some of the score team?

Speaker 2:

Well, come along to our website, which is getscorecom, so G-E-T-S-K-O-R-E dot com. You've got a choice, really. You can request a conversation with one of our experts who can have a look at what you're doing today, look at your requirements and see how the score platform and its built in health capability process health capabilities can help. But we've also got some simple guides as well. So if you just want to sort of look through and go well, what are the sorts of things I should be tracking, what structure should I be putting in place to do this, then we've got that available to download from our website as well.

Speaker 1:

Amazing and I'll put. We'll put the link to the website in the show notes and we'll put the link to your LinkedIn profile as well, if people just want to reach out directly to you via LinkedIn for a conversation. So thanks. As ever, craig, always good to speak and we'll catch up soon.

Speaker 2:

Thank you very much.

Challenges in Sustaining Process Improvement
Enhancing Process Health and Engagement
Score Team Contact Through Website and LinkedIn

Podcasts we love