If there’s one thing that kills morale, kills passion and kills productivity within a company, it’s process.
Layer upon layer of sticky, red tape “must do’” that feels more akin to sledging your way through a muddy swamp than getting any real work done.
Many clients I work with (okay, pretty much all of them) are lost in process. There’s either too much process, which means the message sent is never the message received, or, not enough process, which is similar to working in the wild west.
The impact for businesses using antiquated business process solutions or, even worse, no solutions at all, can be multi-faceted and ultimately damage their bottom line.
Nick Candito, cofounder and chief executive officer at Progressly, agrees, which is how his company came to fruition. He noticed one critical component that hampers productivity and efficiency: employees working within the confines of their own silos.
Here are a few challenges that plague companies across nearly every industry as a result of siloed departments:
Departmental lines are increasingly blurred. Contact centers become tied with marketing, sales, shipping and even product development. Human resources, legal, IT and communications teams must be aligned to effectively manage workforce issues and other company-wide responsibilities.
Poor System Integration
With more automation comes more processes that require integrated processes to guarantee success. For instance, in a contact center there might be heavy reliance upon CRM, inventory management and order tracking solutions, which means employees must be aware of all of these systems if they want to optimize the customer experience. However, without a standardized solution to access these processes they are forced to constantly shift between multi-sources of information, resulting in confusion and gaps in productivity.
If there’s one thing I can’t stand in this world besides slow drivers, it’s complacency. Complacency is synonymous with mediocrity, and mediocrity stinks (for lack of a better word). Oftentimes process flies below the radar because “that’s how we’ve always done things, so why change?” Choosing to overlook the impacts of process—and that’s exactly what it is, a choice—is the beginning of the snowball of failure, and it typically stems from one of two sources:
1. Ego. The “gatekeeper” doesn’t want to abdicate control because he or she operates under the assumption that knowledge is power (but it’s not–knowledge is not power).
2. Fear of questioning. Even those observant employees who notice the bottlenecks and challenges produced by process choose not to question it because they don’t want to rock the boat, which is a sign of low organizational trust.
There’s nothing better than having to do the same task twice because of miscommunication (just kidding, that’s sarcasm getting the better of me). In the SEALs we had a common understanding: “Do it right, or do it again.” Excessive process makes it difficult to know who knows what, which leads to duplicative efforts and wasted time, money and mindshare.
Even with data available, leaders may receive inaccessible or erroneously reported information due to a lack of real-time reporting, simply because there was too much process in doing so. Leaders who lack the most relevant insights at their fingertips are less likely to make smart decisions. If a leader doesn’t know what the next decision point is to be made (i.e. where did the conversation leave off? How many actions were completed? Is the project timeline accurate and feasible?), it’s difficult to decide what efforts need to be redirected or canceled and when.
Success today doesn’t guarantee success tomorrow. Rather, it is the companies willing to redefine who they are, what they sell and how they operate that will win in the digital age.
Jeff Boss, writer
Contributor to Forbes Magazine