Oct 26th, 2023

Business Insights

Oh, Bother

  Written by: Scott Storlie, Senior Delivery Lead

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I have been given many nicknames in my life, but my favorite nickname at Clientek is Eeyore. While I wish I could say that I didn’t earn it, I have been known to have an “oh, bother” type of mood while working through my daily routine. Even though I am a big proponent of process and process improvement, let’s walk through a couple of Eeyore-inspired quotes that directly relate to key process improvement mistakes that are often made by organizations.

“Nobody tells me. Nobody keeps me informed.”

Deployment of process improvements should include, at a minimum, a review with the team. They must be given a chance to consume the updates and ask good questions. “Didn’t you get the memo?” is not an acceptable form of process deployment, especially when you work with greatly varied teams across professional disciplines, learning types, and cultures. Ensure that a reasonable amount of time is planned and scheduled to properly connect, train, and evangelize the deployment of your process changes with your team members.

“Wish I could say yes, but I can’t.”

Whenever a new process or process steps are introduced, it is normal to have team members question their meaningfulness. Regardless of the tenor of the team’s feedback, the fact that they are asking these questions is vital for successful process implementation. If your team members do not understand the value of the change, then they will simply feel that it is unnecessary busy work that they now must do on top of their normal workload. Ensure that when rolling out new process improvements, that the value proposition is clear to your team members. If you do not have sufficient reasoning for the change, take their feedback seriously, question if it is necessary, and potentially improve the suggested implementation.

“A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.”

Change is not easy for most team members, especially if they are used to operating with very loose boundaries around their day-to-day responsibilities. Achieving a balance between the impact on your team and the implementation of a new process is crucial for their success. Make any additional steps that your team needs to take as easy as they can be, the smoother that a team member can adapt to the new process, the less resistance. Do your best to keep any new actions inside of an interface that your team is already using. When team members approach you with suggestions on how to better perform the process, listen to them and consider making iterative adjustments. Successful process improvements should have collective ownership from your whole team, not just the leadership’s stamp of approval.

Process Improvement is never complete. There are immature and mature processes, but none are perfect. As your organization continues to mature through process implementation, make sure that you communicate, listen, and be considerate of the impact on your team members. If you fail to do so, you might eventually find that you have a team full of Eeyores.