The dictionary defines "Process" as follows:
- Noun: A series of actions or steps taken to achieve and end.
- Verb: Perform a series of mechanical or chemical operations on (something) in order to change or preserve it: "the stages in processing the wool".
For business owners, understanding the necessity of having “process” in the various operations of their business is extremely important. For instance:
- If something works well, you will want to be able to repeat it exactly, in order to achieve the same success the next time that activity is performed.
- If something works OK, it would be great to know what steps were taken so that things can be tweaked and corrected in order to make sure that activity you are reviewing is one that is great, and worth repeating.
- If something works poorly, or you have no idea how well it really works at all, you will want to review what you did.
By examining all the steps that were taken to get to the end result, you can make decisions along the way to see if that is what you really intended, or to decide if you had put any thought into it at all. This last idea is not a joke, because sometimes we don’t put much thought into the decisions we make on the fly. Many times the processes that we use, or the habits that are natural to us, are created by accident and with little intention. Sometimes we do things because someone else did it that way, or we think that we are supposed to model ourselves after something or someone else with whom we are familiar. But is that always the right action to take? The good news is that most everything can be changed!
All we need to do is to review the way things are working now, decide what we would rather see or how we would rather proceed through the activities, so that we get a different, often better result. Business owners really need to take responsibility to pay attention to the processes that are used every day in their businesses. These might be large complicated activities, or small, seemingly unimportant steps that are performed. For every action there is an equal reaction. Don't assume that a trivial process or outcome isn't something that you should look into. Make sure that you are comfortable with the way things are done in your business. It may have ramifications on your financials, marketing, staff, production, or even your customers.
Take feedback seriously and make sure that you have a process to examine your company's processes to ensure that they are optimal and result in the "ends" that you had in mind!