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unclutter your organisation

I wrote last week about supporting the front line, and the importance of having a focus on what you have to do to deliver what your customers need. As regular readers will know I have a strong dislike of process for the sake of it and a belief in concentrating on what you need to do and not allowing yourself to be distracted by nice to have fancies.

This is especially an issue in these times when we all need to be making economies and the opportunity to take a look at what your organisation is doing and make some tough decisions on whether or not to carry on doing them is one that you should not be missing. And these are tough decisions, for they impact on people, but they have to be taken if the overall health of the organisation is to be secured.

One acid test for the relevance of an activity is whether or not it is part of generating revenue. If it isn’t adding value, why are you doing it? In many cases there will be things that you are doing that are just processes that have grown up with your business. They may help with the way that the business runs, but what would happen if you just stopped doing them? Would the business suffer, or would you be able to save the costs and pass that value on to your customers?

What is sometimes overlooked is that you have a management team that should be looking forwards and moving the organisation towards achieving its strategic aim. A lot of the focus that these people have is often diluted by these sideshow processes, so that getting rid of these distractions has another positive benefit.

Performance measurement is one of the areas that tends to have a self-perpetuating tendency and occupies too much management time. My view is that three KPIs is about right and 5 is the maximum, so if you have more than this then you have too many and are probably using up management time looking at too much data. At one time we used to talk about KPIs as cockpit dials, or as a dashboard. Think about that analogy; in your car you have probably two large dials and two or three smaller ones and they are all that you need, in fact think about how often you actually look at those.

You can have as many performance measurements as you like and, if they are generated as parts of transacting your business, you are not adding any cost to producing them. They will be invaluable when you need to drill down and look in detail at some aspect of your performance, but KPIs should be two or three high level numbers.

Another area of potential fat that you can eliminate are those processes that spring up around how your customers interact with you. Take a good look at these from the customer perspective; how easy is it for your customers to do business with you? Ask them, and you may well be surprised, because the processes that you have in place will be there to make life easier for your people and not the customer. Often they make life harder for the customer, so they are a good target for making things better.

Uncluttering your organisation will free you up and get you fit for the future. It is not a subject that I can easily cover in six hundred words, but I hope that this gives you some ideas. I’m not hard to find if you need more.

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