As Process Flip has been developing and we kick start this new venture, I have been travelling far and wide to discuss with clients process improvement. And the topic of conversation invariable comes down to this: Can you help us to transform the business? I was in discussion with a client some time ago, and we started to discuss the whole nature of transformation. It seems that some senior managers in companies treat their projects in the same way that Superman treats a phone box...... go in to it looking normal and mundane, but come out of it at the other end supercharged and ready to take on the world.
I asked an 'efficiency and transformation' manager this very question earlier this week - so what will your organisation look like when you reappear from the phone box (presumably having got the organisation in a spin in the meanwhile) and the banalities of the answer were shocking to me. "We want to increase our customer satisfaction with our services" was about the best he could do, with no vision as to what that actually means. I thought "wow, I thought you wanted to irritate the hell out of your customers, I'm so glad you cleared that up!"
I am not actually sure this organisation has even discovered which part of the service their customers are not satisfied with, where their frustrations are and where they fall short. So is it process alone? No there are many facets to a successful efficiency and transformation project. I started to write this thinking the conclusion would be that you need to deliver process improvement with "Change Management" being the key, as in the diagram that Gartner have used.
But today's message is: Start with a clear and defined vision, linked to your strategy and business objectives. Don't accept cliches like being 'customer focused'. understand what that actually means in practice, and ensure that your processes, documents, data and people all allow that to happen in the right way.
Don't get your organisation in a spin!