What is process implementation and what does it mean to me? As companies grow, the need to establish and effective implementation processes to help you scale to meet your business goals becomes inevitable. We've all reached a place in our role when the way we used to do things no longer works and we have to innovate. Necessity becomes the mother of invention - there's really no way to avoid it in a healthy growing company. The best companies are continually improving and have systems to implement a new process quickly and effectively.
The truth remains, however: implementing new processes at work is hard. It's some of the most challenging work that teams do. Some teams struggle with change itself - it pushes people out of their comfort zone and sometimes there is resistance. Other teams struggle to develop the processes themselves - they can't agree on the best way to proceed to improve the business process. Even if you can define a new process and make some headway on changing people's mindsets, there is still the uphill battle for implementing the key processes that turn plans into action. Management teams can help their employees to implement a new business process in five simple ways to maximize their implementation efforts and build the best project team to get it implemented.
The Implementation Process Framework:
Implement the process with a clear objective
Or, as Stephen Covey says, begin with the end in mind. Starting with an Objective Statement is a wonderful way to understand what process you are trying to establish, how you are going to go about it, and what result you are trying to achieve. This should clearly define the business process that needs to be updated and the business reason why it needs to be done. This establishes clear goals and objectives to determine a common vision around the new process you are trying to implement.
Get process input from across the organization
Most processes touch multiple departments. For example, the process around how the Finance Team handles expense submissions impacts Sales, Production, Exec team, etc. Gain input from those teams on how the new process might make things easier for them, get them paid faster, etc. Not only do they feel heard, but they are more likely to see the value of the new process and become early adopters. This isn't just the human resources, strategic management or the senior management team's sole responsibility - all of the cross-functional team members should be represented in the implementation plan if you really want to gain a competitive advantage.
Clear communication of the implementation process
Once a new process improvement has been established, it must be clearly communicated. Lead with the value the new process will provide to the company and all of the affected teams. Make the steps clear so later the team is comfortable holding each other accountable to following them. Make them aware of the long-term benefits of making the change. This isn't just changing for the sake of change - the planning process to both the short term change management and long term strategic implementation to better the company's ability to achieve their 3-5 year strategic plan. The key to strategy execution is to have the right business process in place to continual drive progress towards your goal and making adjustments to that plan as more data becomes available. This needs to be mentioned face to face at weekly meetings, then followed up by an email to implement the new process.
Drive new business process adoption
The most successful process implementations have one person who clearly owns it as a priority, and they are in charge of the entire project management of the key components of implementing the new process. Ideally, if it is a company-wide new process, a member of the executive team would own the overall adoption priority to assist the implementation strategy. Executive sponsorship can be extremely helpful in driving adoption to get the projected implemented successfully. This needs to be part of your performance management metrics so that you can make sure that your process implementation is having the desired effects.
Don't be afraid to make adjustments to the process
As with any priority, you will learn things as you begin the execution phase. If any part of the new process isn't working, have an open dialogue and make any necessary adjustments. New management processes will only take hold if they truly provide the value as described in your original Objective Statement. Did implementing the process increase efficiency as expected? Did you surpass your goals? Did you fall short? What can you do now with the new data available to improve? Start implementing those processes changes and continue working! You'll get better each time you through this process implementation framework.
Following these steps sets the stage for the successful development and implementation of any new process in your organization. Successful strategy execution involves constantly improving business processes that align with your management system. Go forth and conquer!
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