Focus on a Single Process

By Mark Inboden

Last week, my management team and I had our annual UCEC Planning Retreat. As we did last year, we had it off-site to limit interruptions, and engaged Blair Koch, my TAB advisor, as the facilitator of the meeting and to capture key ideas and initiatives for the coming year.

One exercise of significance was that each manager was asked to present their current workflow, and then a proposed workflow for their respective areas. In looking at the charts and diagrams that were presented, it became evident that we have a lot of steps in getting things done.

Part of going through this exercise was to improve processes and production time. The more we looked at these diagrams, the more it became clear as to what each area needed to do: Focus on a Single Process. Let me explain. In looking at the workflows, people were trying to reduce the number of steps that tasks were taking, thinking this would reduce production time.  In most instances, some of the steps that were being cut were really a necessary component for another area to successfully complete their job. After several go rounds, it became evident that it is better to Focus on a Single Process for improvement, rather than completely reworking your area. 

Once a process is improved for your customer, then look at the next one. Wholesale changes often bring anxiety, frustration and negative consequences for your employees, and thus your customers. Focus on a Single Process allows the area to implement change, garner feedback and make adjustments that really do improve that one process for your customer and your team.


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