10 Commandments of Continuous Improvement (2017)
How to Lead a Business Process Improvement Effort
There are many methods to manage change within an organization. The business process improvement (BPI) effort is designed to help organizations refine their policies and procedures in order to bring a better product or service to their customers. Managers and supervisors need to understand how to lead a business process improvement effort so their teams can navigate the different stages of change more effectively.
Understand the business process improvement method.The goal of a BPI effort is twofold: to improve customer experience and to improve business practices and operations. There should be a clear beginning and end to specific projects within your BPI effort.
- Take an inventory of your current processes.
- Identify different areas where you could potentially improve your process or procedure. Prioritize what needs to happen first.
- Identify specific goals and objectives by listing steps you will take to improve in these areas.
- Create a plan for organizational change.
- Ensure that everyone within the leadership team knows their role, how different departments are involved, and the expected time frame and cost of the BPI effort.
- Review your plan. Make sure it is realistic and that others in your business are on-board with these changes.
- Lead the change effort. Communicate clearly to the employees involved about what is changing and why the change is warranted.
- Continue improving business processes. Organizations should always be trying to cut back on costs and improving the experience for their customers.
Prepare for change.Before you actually implement the BPI effort, you need to get your workplace and your team ready for the changes that are about to take place. To lead during this stage, you will need to have strong meeting management skills. You will also need to ask questions and start conversations.
- Create a case for change. Make a direct correlation to how these changes will affect the customer.
- See the business from the customer's perspective and identify what can make it better. For example, look at how user-friendly your product or service is, determine if you are meeting customers' expectations, and whether you are able to keep up with demand.
- Foster the right environment for change by appointing a leadership team to oversee the BPI effort. Have clearly defined goals for this team.
- Develop methods to create this change, a communication plan for announcing it, and a schedule or time line for implementing it.
Lead your team through the BPI effort.When it comes time to actually lead the change itself, practice good communication, project management, observation and awareness, as well as strategic thinking skills.
- Collect additional information that will help you effectively design your BPI effort. Be thorough in looking for potential obstacles.
- Implement the change by making sure that resources are available for the team to use.
- Address obstacles that continue to slow or stop the process.
- Identify and celebrate quick wins to keep employee morale high.
- Keep momentum going during this phase or you risk losing a sense of urgency from the rest of your organization.
Maintain the changes you made while making sure people do not revert back to old practices.
- Continue to collaborate with others in the organization.
- Recognize and celebrate big wins.
- Monitor the changes recently implemented and observe how they are affecting both the company and the customers.
- Address any problem areas and strive to keep the BPI effort going.
Video: Business Process Improvement (BPI) - To improve is to change
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