Is It a People Problem Or a Missing System?
Whenever there is a breakdown in a business, it’s really important to identify where the key missing link lies.
Many times a breakdown is blamed on an individual or group of employees, yet there wasn’t a process or system developed to provide a consistent successful outcome in the first place.
So, when there is a breakdown in the business, ask yourself these two questions first, before blaming an individual.
1. Has a documented system/procedure/checklist been developed and written? This means a step by step guide, just like a cooking recipe, that is clear, easy to read and follow.
2. Have the individuals responsible for this process been given regular training and feedback on the application of the system?
If the answer is YES to both of the above, then you have ‘people/attitude/application’ challenge. If the answer is NO, then look in the mirror!
You may have demonstrated the task once before or through external training you might assume that your team players should simply know how to do it- well, you know what they say about assumptions!
The key outcome to having a system or process in place is consistency; the exact same task performed the exact same way every time, regardless of who is undertaking it.
Think of a McDonald’s Big Mac- in any store you walk into the burger is exactly the same; this has not happened by chance. The team working behind the scenes have been made aware of and trained in the process of combining the ingredients, using the required equipment, assembly and presentation and this documented process and accompanying team training is exactly the same in every store. Most importantly, you as the customer can rely on the consistency of the end product.
Creating a process is a relatively simple task – it is simply documenting the steps that are the most effective/efficient way of performing a task.
- When you are outlining the steps you can choose to go into significant detail or not- perhaps an accompanying image or photo may be sufficient.
- You need to write the instructions in a way that a typical person performing that role will be able to understand.
- Write the steps so that a 5th Grader (i.e. some initiative and enthusiasm however sometimes lacking common sense) could understand it. NB: This is in no way designed to insult your team – it is simply to ensure that fundamental steps are not left out or up to someone else’s competence.
- The easiest way to write your systems/processes is to do it as you are performing the task yourself – and have your team do the same.
Review your newly implemented system with your team to ensure nothing is missed and that all instructions are clear and concise. Your team might have documented how they do things right now; it will be up to you to examine if this is the most efficient and effective way of doing things and make changes as necessary.