Keep it simple! Processes, training, everything.

keep it simple! Simple procedures and communication is easier to understand and follow.

A company culture transformation is an undertaking.  You will attempt to break with old habits and mental models.  Also, you will introduce new ones.  For that reason, you and your leadership team will make many decisions regarding what to do and how to do it.  Later, there will be a lot of communication, skills development, training, and new standards.  While teaching new behaviors, mental models, and ways to do things, keep it simple.

For a successful transformation, keep it simple

Along the transformation journey, you and your team will have countless communication efforts. That communication will happen in different scenarios and formats.  In other words, individual or group settings, in writing or verbal.  Also, you will write new policies, standards, work instructions, and others.  The purpose of the communication or procedures and other details needs to clear.  Keep the receiver or user in mind while deciding the language, design, or communication structure.  Moreover, it needs to be simple, easy to understand and execute.

If you can’t explain it simply, take a step back.

“If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” 

Albert Einstein

Any continuous improvement activity starts with gaining an understanding of the current situation. The cultural transformation begins with a similar process, understanding the present culture.  The knowledge gain during this step helps to design the best way to share with the team the intention to change.

Why do you want to engage in the transformation process?  Why you propose to use continuous improvement?  What are the steps?  A long and hard thinking process is required to answer these questions in a simple way.  Refine your thoughts, do not use too many words, do not overthink.  Be honest and talk from your heart without fancy words or excuses, just the truth.

You are not ready to communicate this idea until you can say it in simple words.  

Keep it simple, all of the processes, language, structures, and formats.

Simple language is easier for the reader or receiver.  For instance, try to avoid the use of technical words unless it is necessary.  The same rule goes for industry jargon.  For example, in continuous improvement, we use many Japanese terms like kaizen.  Depending on the current culture, you should use generally accepted American words as a substitute.  In our previous example, you can use continuous improvement or rapid improvement events instead of kaizen.

While teaching new tools, use simple structures.  Further, give examples of things related to their work.  Things are complicated enough as it is, keep it simple.  Processes that are easy to understand have more probability of sustainability.  It is much easier to execute simple instructions than complicated words.  

Summary

Trying to explain something complex is often a humbling experience.  It makes you realize how much you don’t know.  Therefore, it forces you to break the subject into smaller pieces and understand each one of them.  When you think you know the process well enough, try to explain it with simple words. Would your five years old self understand?  If the answer is no, then keep refining your thoughts, keep improving your pitch.  

Simplicity avoids confusion, and processes are easier to execute consistently.  Don’t complicate it, keep it simple. 

Do you know what a process is?

A process is a series of steps or activities necessary to achieve a goal. Some examples are: cooking, plan an event, create an invoice, and checking out in a store. Everything that we do in steps is a process. Each business consists of processes that together make possible the delivery of a product or service. The effectiveness of those processes and how they work with each other are a big part of business success.

Is your business receiving bad ratings for poor service? Are people complaining because they receive something other than what they ordered? Are you missing deadlines? If you answer yes to any of those questions, then you need to improve those processes as soon as possible. The inefficiency of one or more of them or the flow between them is affecting your pocket. If you adopt continuous improvement, you will create small improvements frequently. That will keep your processes efficient and effective.

The first step to improve business processes is to identify what areas need change and prioritize. Complete an assessment of your business processes. Identify what is working well and what is not. What processes are affecting your organization or customers? Map the process you chose to improve first. With a process map, you can visualize the sequence of steps. Analyze where the flow stops, and see if there are delays or waiting time. What step takes longer to complete? Why does that happen? It is important to find the true cause of these problems to avoid recurrence.

Ask your employees for feedback, involve them in the analysis and innovation. Design a new process based on your findings. Implement and communicate the reason for those changes. After the implementation, you need to review the results. Is it working? Are you getting the expected results? If the answer is yes, then you are ready to tackle the next item on your priority list.

Are you ready to start? Practice continuous improvement to keep making your processes and your business better. Contact Better Process Solutions if you need help to start your improvements!

This article was originally posted in Organization and Efficiency Solutions.