Your organization consists of much more than just your employees and managers. Clients and customers, providers, contractors and others are also included in the role of “stakeholder.” When you’re ramping up for a transformation initiative, it’s important to gather the inputs from all stakeholders, not just those who are most obvious.
Tools to Succeed
There are a number of tools for gathering stakeholder inputs, and many organizations will employ more than one. The “suggestion box” approach, while quick and easy for employees to submit, takes far too much time for management to review and evaluate. Instead, consider using an online survey to solicit suggestions, comments and complaints from employees, and offer your customers or clients a way to provide input in a digital format as well.
When you’re looking for input, it’s important to remember a few key components to the most successful and useful systems. Remember to request actionable suggestions, and to use an open-ended question instead of a simple “yes / no” question format. You’ll also want to allow your stakeholders to submit their comments and ideas through an anonymous venue. That will alleviate any concerns as to speaking one’s true mind on difficult topics.
Ask the Right Questions
Put together a short list of the questions you feel would most immediately impact your organization’s policies, procedures and processes. Those questions will likely be specific to a certain type of stakeholder, with some questions designed specifically for managers, some for employees and some for clients or customers. Touch on topics like productivity, cost reduction, morale, diversity, product and service quality and employee turnover rates, and allow your stakeholders to address what you consider to be your most difficult situations and topics. You just might be surprised at what this type of input gathering reveals about your organization, its customer service and employee management style.
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Business Process Reengineering techniques are not just a fad. If you’re looking for empty corporate buzzwords, you’ve come to the wrong place, because implementing and reengineering business processes is an art and science, and creates real results. In fact, one of the best process systems out there uses the word “results” as an acronym as its base. R.E.S.U.L.T.S.
The R.E.S.U.L.T.S. model is a circle, not a straight line. You must think in terms of cycles in order to succeed with this process improvement strategy, and one of the best ways to get started is simply by reviewing what R.E.S.U.L.T.S. stands for.
The R is for Reflection and Vision, and requires management and team members who are able to identify and articulate what they envision their organization to become. If you don’t know where you’ve been, it’s very difficult to see where you’re going, and that’s why this first step in the R.E.S.U.L.T.S. process is so critical.
E is for Expectations and Alignment; in other words, how adept is your organization at identifying future goals and bringing all the players to agreement on the strategy? It’s up to management to identify the organization’s expectations and then align all teams and employees with those goals.
Selection of Opportunities is the focus of the S in R.E.S.U.L.T.S. Now that you know what your goals are and you’ve gotten everyone on board with the strategy, you can look for the gaps in your current plans. These gaps provide the opportunities for improvement, and while you won’t want to focus on all the gaps in the beginning, you can select the most important few to get you moving.
The U in R.E.S.U.L.T.S. is for Understand and Plan. Your plan is worthless unless your people understand it, and that means you need to be able to articulate your plan clearly and succinctly. Next, those who are tasked with carrying out the plan must also be empowered with enough authority to do so in a meaningful way. Ownership of an objective must be tied to the authority to achieve that objective.
L is for Leverage, Influence and Change. Who within your organization will be leading the charge for improvement in your business processes? Are these individuals able to positively influence others and do they have the power to leverage for change? It’s all well and good to have a plan in place, but if you don’t have specific leaders empowered to lead the adoption of the plan, you’ll likely experience only stagnation.
Transform Continually that’s the focus of the T in the R.E.S.U.L.T.S. model. It’s far too easy to become complacent when you see the first few positive results, but this is no time to rest on the early success. Instead, make sure that part of your process improvement strategy involves an ongoing monitoring system and continual change. There will always be a better, cheaper, faster and more efficient way to do things, especially as technology evolves. Your organization and employees must always be willing to look for those improvements.
The final S in the R.E.S.U.L.T.S. model represents Sustain and Reinvent. Much like the step just previous, this topic brings a focus to the necessity of continual improvement. Not only will you need to sustain the new processes and avoid reverting back to a more comfortable method, but you’ll also be looking for ways to improve upon even the improved processes.
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