Solving Organizational Performance Problems

in Process

Business experts tell us that up to 95% of all organizational problems are driven by systems or process issues and are not employee related. The best efforts of people cannot compensate for dysfunctional systems and processes.

Let's start with some definitions. A process is the work you do: it is a repeatable sequence of related events or tasks that leads to a predictable outcome. A SYSTEM is a series of related processes. It might be dozens of related processes such as payroll or human resource systems. Your organization is a large system of many related processes: client services, sales, marketing, manufacturing, A problem is a GAP between current performance levels & the desired outcome in a process, service, or product.

Problem solving is a major function of management and of teams. Too often organizations and managers will band aid an issue without finding or solving the real problem. Before long the problem becomes buried beneath layers of band aids, policies, and procedures. The job of leadership is to enable staff to define the real issue. One of the best ways to do that is to use Cause and Effect Diagrams better known as Fish Boning. It is a way of finding and curing causes not symptoms. It allows staff to identify, explore and graphically display in detail, all of the possible causes related to a problem or condition. This takes you to the root cause(s) of a problem. When Fish Boning is used, it focuses on the content of a problem and not on the history or differing personal interests of staff. It creates a snapshot of the collective knowledge and consensus of a team around a problem. It focuses on causes not symptoms. All of this builds support for the resulting solutions (The Memory Jogger II, Brassard and Ritter).

Another important Team Tool is the Flowchart. This is a graphic picture of a process. Flowcharts allow a team to identify the actual flow or sequence of events in a process. These charts can be applied to any process from the flow of a payroll notices or time sheets to any client related process.

Ideally teams should construct a flowchart for a process as it is and to compare it to the improved process. Flow Charting allows a team to a come to an understanding of redundant, overly complex or unnecessary steps and to come to agreement on the activities that impact performance. It is a great training aid to understand both completed processes or to new and improved processes (The Memory Jogger II, Brassard and Ritter).

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Larry Wenger has 1 articles online

Larry Wenger is the President and Founder of the Workforce Performance Group. located in Newtown, Pa. He is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Social Work and has led human service organizations of various types for over 40 years. For more information contact Larry at 1-877-872-6195.

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This article was published on 2010/04/04