Whether you’re looking to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your processes, or the organisation’s culture, you need to know the current state of things. See how well you can answer the following questions – the answers really will count:
- How do your customers feel?
- What are the perception surveys showing?
- Is market share increasing, or are you suffering a loss of customers?
- Are you spending too much time dealing with customer complaints?
- How stable are the processes?
- Are there clearly defined ways of doing things – the ‘one best way’, or are there lots of people actioning the process in different ways with lots of workarounds in place?
- How do your people feel? Are they experiencing frustration, for example, perhaps because they don’t seem able to do things easily, or they feel their roles are unclear? Or maybe they don’t feel empowered or involved.
There are a lot more questions that need to be asked, too, and that’s where we can help by providing an impartial assessment of where you are. What’s more, and assuming you know where you would like to be, we can help you map out the best route by identifying and prioritising the actions needed.
Creating a culture for continuous improvement is rarely straightforward. One of the vital ingredients is to ensure that everyone understands their role, especially the organisation’s leaders and managers. Ideally, leaders need to work on the business. And managers need to work on their processes with the people in the processes to find ways of continuously improving how the work gets done, and how well the learning is embedded.
Staff engagement and involvement is essential, especially given the strong correlation between employee and customer satisfaction. Leading and managing change needs active attention.
Our culture audits, employee focus groups, and questionnaires can be tailored to your specific requirements and circumstances, helping you identify the priorities and actions needed.
Understanding the drivers of the organisation’s ‘cultural web’ will be a helpful outcome in the preparatory planning of what needs to be done to move things forward.
The ‘culture web’ describes a collection of factors, behaviours and thinking that pervades the organisation. It includes:
- Symbols that can include how people dress or refer to each other, for example
- An insight into ‘power’ indicating whether this is an autocratic or participative place to work
- The shape of the organisation’s structure, be it flat or hierarchical, centralised or decentralised
- The controls that are in place
- The rituals and routines that include regular meetings, for example
- The stories and myths surrounding how the organisation works and what it or its people have done
As you can see, there’s a natural link to Leading and Managing Change.
We find that many organisations are operating at a fraction of their true potential, with high levels of Non-Value-Add activities, and with huge potential for increasing customer satisfaction, loyalty and market share.
To develop a culture of continuous improvement, you will need to build a foundation that can support the creation of stable predictable processes. Using experienced consultants, our process health checks help to assess, quantify and prioritise the opportunities for improvement.
Catalyst personnel see a lot of processes and know “what good looks like”. They provide an independent and dispassionate voice that will give you a true and transparent view of the reality of your process. We understand a wide range of elements such as Learning, Consulting, Interim and Change Management, and will suggest the most effective activities to keep your process “healthy”.
Often the underlying cause of these problems is due to processes not being owned or understood. Over time various workarounds have been introduced and with organisational changes, the end-to-end picture of the process becomes unclear.
The symptoms include:
- Frustration: You don’t seem to be able to do things easily
- Confusion: No-one really seems to know what’s going on
- Hassle: There are always fires to put out
- Overload: There is always too much to do
- Complaints: You’re spending too much time dealing with unhappy customers
And now, you have to reduce costs and do more with less.
Our experience shows that often only 10-15% of the steps in a process add value. What’s more, the ‘thing’ going through the process spends very little time in those Value-Add steps, perhaps as briefly as 1% of the overall processing time!
If you want to develop a culture of continuous improvement, one of the foundation building blocks will be to create stable predictable processes. Our process health checks can help assess, quantify and prioritise the opportunities for improvement and the actions needed.
Following your Healthcheck, we recommend taking a look at your processes and how Catalyst can help you streamline them. Find out more here.
Catalyst provides a range of further consulting services including:
- Strategy Deployment
- Interim solutions & leadership for your projects
- Rapid Improvement workshops and facilitation
- Process Optimisation
Every organisation, regardless of what industry they are in, is considering or running a Continuous Improvement Programme of some sort to improve performance and enable their people to contribute with their ideas and problem-solving skills. However, even with the best intentions, the unfortunate truth is that most efforts ultimately fail to fully meet expectations or lead to sustainable culture change.
With wide experience across multiple industries, Catalyst can support and guide you in establishing and running your Continuous Improvement strategy and programme, including leadership development, Lean Six Sigma training, PMO formation, project selection, communications strategy, change management capability, Lean Management Systems and recognition systems which all combine to help align your people around your strategic vision. Our experience as leaders, practitioners and coaches will help you embed new mindsets and behaviours, establish new systems of working and engage your people in improving processes to enable results and your journey to excellence.