Whether you realize it or not, your day is full of processes—established sequences of activities designed to achieve specific goals. You probably developed some of these processes informally through experimentation; you tried it one way, adapted it a bit, and before long you had a “process,” and probably didn’t think much about it again. Or, in some cases, you may have inherited a process. Someone taught you how to do something, perhaps years ago, and you simply kept on using that process because…why not?
The problem with processes is that they naturally degrade over time. Technology becomes outdated and our execution becomes flawed. Circumstances change and a once adequate process becomes insufficient. But all too often, we fail to realize it. We simply keep doing things the way we’ve always done them…because that’s the way we’ve always done them. We tend to use our processes until they break or stop working altogether, rather than looking for improvements before that happens.
Of course, when a process breaks or stops working, it creates major disruption, stress, and frustration. It can delay our work and cause painful ripple impacts throughout the team, department, and (possibly) the entire organization.
Learning how to improve processes is a powerful skill that will prevent a lot of headaches down the road for you and others. When you see that a process isn’t as working as effectively or efficiently as it could or should be, you can take proactive steps to improve it. Even when a process seems to be working fine, you can almost always identify small tweaks to make it even better.
No process is ever perfect. Forward-thinking organizations and people understand this. They are constantly looking for ways to optimize.
If you want to elevate your reputation and results at work, focus on improving your processes. Look for ways to automate, streamline, and modernize your workflows to enhance outcomes and reduce resources. The opportunities are plentiful, and YOU want to be the one to find them. Doing so will position you as someone who thinks strategically and isn’t satisfied with the “status quo.” You’re not just mindlessly doing the work; you’re actively finding ways to do it better.
That’s the BEST way to stand out!
Interested in process improvement but not sure how to get started? Learn more in the upcoming Process Improvement Learning Lab!