The challenges of leading an organization today are significant given the speed of change. So, business leaders have to focus on ensuring their companies remain fast, flat, and flexible.
There are four critical areas for doing so: People, Process, Revenue, and Growth. This article focuses on the second element process, specifically business process management (BPM). Moreover, it explains what you need to do to ensure you have that as a well-oiled business machine.
Problem: Because of uncertainty, there's a lot of "firefighting" that has been going on. In other words, business processes have fallen as a priority. As such, many companies suffer from a lack of coordination and team collaboration. Further, companies have stepped away from innovation to minimize supposed risk, not realizing that's a critical mistake.
Opportunity: For business leaders who understand they have to pivot continually, there is a great opportunity. Despite the shifting landscape, spending the necessary time to tune up business processes places your company at a competitive advantage. Knowing the five elements to keep in mind will help ensure your success.
Resolution: First, understand the necessary elements involved in business process management. Second, keep alert for the potential pitfalls that could lead to failures. Third, audit and review your processes. By making sure you work through the resolutions, you make certain to innovate, which minimizes your risk.
What Is Business Process Management?
In short, business process management is the administration of your company. It’s the opportunity to understand the permission systems and procedures that guide your company, identify points of friction, and resolve—systematically.
When and where possible, technology should help organizations automate as much as possible. As we know, digital transformation and data are as valuable as gold. Further, BPM involves ensuring your business processes incorporate a "test and learn" methodology.
To compete in the current landscape, you want to take more risks, not less.
Further, business process management means ensuring everything gets measured and analyzed continually. That data then informs decision-makers to improve on everything from processes to product development to sales. Moreover, it also captures your team's performance, especially in a remote working environment, to ensure everyone is hitting it on all cylinders.
As a leader, what is the essential element to ensure successful business process management? The answer is that all managers, including you, have to have an agile mindset. In other words, you have to master the pivot.
You have to accept that disruption is part of the DNA of your business.
As a result, you want to promote an innovative culture of learning at your company. By doing so, you excite your team.
Further, you encourage your team to think beyond "outside the box" ideas. You don't just want them thinking outside the box. What you want is for them to create whole new boxes. In short, mastery and creativity only come if you have business processes that don't unnecessarily consume their time.
What to Look For so You Don't Fail
We operate in the digital age. Therefore, you must have the right automation tools. One size doesn't fit all.
Look at all of your systems, including your CRM, communications, and project management tools, and decide what platforms work best.
What may work well for others might not for you. Also, in this environment, cash flow is crucial. So, ensure that your business processes include a deep understanding of the financial position of your company.
One of the most disruptive things occurring is the movement of the workforce from offices to home offices. However, this trend was already happening. The pandemic simply accelerated the inevitable. Still, most businesses have no idea how to manage their teams remotely. Yet, as leaders know, management is crucial for well-oiled business processes. Moreover, team collaboration across locations, time zones, and varying times of day mean that leaders have to educate themselves on how to accomplish it.
If you listen to newly remote teams, you hear complaints about bosses mandating that cameras remain on all day. Perhaps you've read about endless more meetings, to "keep on track," which keeps people from doing their jobs. This kind of micro-management is old-school and dramatically affects the success of your business processes. If you and your team now spend most of your time on pointless video conferences, no one is working.
Finally, with the proper business management platforms, what is not measured fails. There's simply no way to keep an eye on every aspect of a business. Thankfully, there's an app or platform for almost anything.
To prevent systemic failure, decisions should only happen once you have the data.
In other words, it's no longer about the leader's gut. Now, data must inform every decision.
5 Considerations You Need to Keep in Mind for BPM
1. Adopt an Agile Mindset as the Cornerstone of Your Business Operations
Every business leader and all of your team members must have agile mindsets. Because people are creatures of habit, this goes against the nature of many people.
Simply saying you have mental agility, which gets demonstrated in action, does not make it so.
And, of course, the same holds for your managers and team. As a result, you have to find ways to train yourself as well as your team. One of the ways to do it is by learning about talent optimization. Also, you should consider for your business processes, developing a management and team training pipeline for professional development. You have to educate and inform people on how to rely on data and not themselves.
2. Fuel Your Business Growth With Focused Intensity
Once you understand the need for mental agility, you have to ensure intensity. As we know, the business environment is highly competitive. What that means is that anything and everything is fair play. Gone are the days where businesses operated within the predefined rules of the game.
Technology serves business leaders incredible opportunities to optimize and maximize.
Therefore, your business management processes must include high and focused intensity. How is this achieved? Again, everything is analyzed and measured. Moreover, you make deadlines a driving element of your BPM, and you measure success against it.
3. Incorporate the "Test and Learn" Methods Into Business Processes
Again, that which does not get measured inevitably fails. So, while failure is excellent, if you learn, you don't want to fail for its own sake. Of course, that is destructive to your business. Therefore, as a leader, you want to ensure that you create a culture of "test and learn."
Your team will only incorporate test and learn methods if you speak about it, continually, and demand to see it in every facet of your business processes.
As a result of training your managers and team on agility, you will inevitably see that your team evolves positively. Give them the space to enjoy the learning that comes from creating, innovating, testing ideas, learning, and then repeating the cycle.
4. Create Continual Edge Projects and Initiatives
Once you have a culture of learning, disruptive ideas, testing, and knowledge, you need to make sure you have a vehicle. That place, so to speak, where everyone from your business process team to your product development, marketing, and sales teams could create is with edge projects and initiatives.
Innovation feeds on itself.
Therefore, creating a learning culture, necessitates that you put the thinking into practical efforts. And, that gets accomplished with edge initiatives. When you generate pilot programs through edge projects, for instance, your team can test ideas for the market.
5. Acknowledge All Learning and Processes Are Iterative
The fifth element for ensuring success in your business process management and all areas of your business is the idea of iterative development. In other words, learning comes from practice.
It is the repetition of creating ideas, testing them, learning, and then repeating it all over again that makes the difference for businesses that are trailblazers and those that aren't.
The reality is that because of technology and the vast volume of information and product innovation, consumers patronize leading-edge businesses.
The only way to be forward-thinking is to ensure you create a culture of learning where everything is in iterative development.
Finally, there's one more element that you want to keep in mind, and that's that progress is where you want to operate—not with perfection. Your business cannot afford to want to create perfection. It simply does not exist. However, when you ensure that you keep the above things in mind for your business processes, and remember that perfection is not your end-game but getting ideas from mind to market is, you have an enormous competitive advantage.
Ben Stroup is Chief Growth Architect and President at Velocity Strategy Solutions where he helps leaders design, develop, and deploy smarter business growth strategies. Ben is a futurist, disruptor, and data champion. He leads a team that takes a structured learning approach to business challenges, which allows them to assist leaders in bridging the gap between ideas, innovation, and revenue—taking ideas from mind to market.
Velocity Strategy Solutions is an on-demand, next-generation business strategy and management consulting firm which provides clients with a relentless focus on data, execution, and results that positively impact the bottom line. Velocity delivers integrated people and revenue strategies combined with a disciplined approach to growth architecture that elevates the capacity of leaders, teams, and organizations to succeed and win more.