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  • Tim Lambert

Are Your Processes Processing You to Within an Inch of Your Life?

Do you work in a company that proudly boasts to be ‘process-centric’?

What does that mean in reality?

Probably that you can’t breathe without following a complex process of approval, which takes so long that it leaves you gasping for air.

 A Process should look like this…






Not this…



It should be …

  1. A vehicle, not the destination

  2. Subservient to the end purpose

  3. An enabler which results in something being delivered that adds value

  4. A sequence with a clearly identifiable start and finish

  5. Owned by people  who have responsibility for delivering some or all of its component stages


But for too many people, their organisation’s love of processes swamps them in a mire of slurry, where progress is slow and no-one comes up smelling of roses.

Too many processes are complex, unnecessary, unclear, and cumbersome. In fact, in your most paranoid moments you could be forgiven for believing that they have been designed to deliberately frustrate you.

However, a process should be smooth, clear, transparent, simple, rational, and designed to get you from A to B as quickly, efficiently, and effectively as possible.

The constraints that we have allowed ourselves to operate under are killing creativity and agility. In turn, these are killing productivity. And because so many of these processes have been developed in isolation of considerations for improving customer experience, they are killing off businesses.

Processes are often introduced as a panic measure following some internal complication or error. Invariably, it’s not a new process that is required but a change in attitude or behaviour, but as these things take longer we settle instead for a new process that people (probably) won’t follow anyway.

It’s even worse when an existing process that really needs scrapping ends up being automated. All that happens when you automate a bad process is that you end up with a faster mess!”

Something needs to give if the situation is to improve.

Here are our 6 Tips for Tipping Unnecessary Processes


Then ask, “Is there a better of way of improving the situation for our customers without the need for a new process?”

Tip Two. Take each internal process in turn (this could take years in some companies!) and ask the same three questions as in Tip 1 above. Get rid of processes that cannot be shown to add value.

Tip Three. Never introduce a new process without getting rid of an old one (or two…or three).

Tip Four. If you MUST have a new process, AMALGAMATE with an existing one and SIMPLIFY.

Tip Five. Unless absolutely necessary, don’t write it down, but keep talking to everyone involved in the chain.

Tip Six. If you have to have it, and it needs to be written down, KEEP IT SIMPLE & CONCISE.

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