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Why Process Thinking Enables Performance Improvement

Through our 25 years of experience with client enterprises across 60 different industries, we have seen a variety of challenges to better managing work and improving enterprise performance.  We continue to see a common theme in these challenges, however, that originates from the traditional vertical organization structure, the workflow management barriers that it creates, and the resulting difficulties that organizations encounter while attempting to improve the customer experience. Based upon the most common performance challenges that we face, listed below are five beliefs that we think are essential for enterprise performance improvement.


1. There is a Better Way to Achieve Performance Improvement.  

The age-old tradition of the vertical organization management structure has proven to be more hindrance than help in striving for superior organization performance and better serving customers. Traditional organizations bring disconnected silos, where department boundaries form barriers to achievement causing work to get lost in the translation. Why do organizations continue to reactively chase hidden problems with unpredictable outcomes?


2. Managing Processes Yields Better Results Than Managing Departments.  

Process management offers a superior paradigm for creating customer value, solving problems and managing work. By redefining the work structure through Enterprise, Systems, Processes, Tasks, and Knowledge, leadership completely captures the work definition, knowledge, information, performance, and intellectual property that are integral to the organization’s DNA. This builds a powerful infrastructure investment in the enterprise and its brands.


3. Exceptional Enterprises Actively Own and Manage Business Systems and Processes.  

Accountable owners should be assigned to every business system and business process based upon their knowledge of the work being accomplished, their capability to define and deploy standard practices, and their desire to lead teams that solve problems and implement change. Active System and Process Ownership provide many organization benefits, including process connectivity, customer alignment, value stream management, work transparency and effective performance accountability.


4. Exceptional Process Owners Engage and Understand their Customers and Suppliers.  

Behind every unhappy customer lies a broken process. On average, about 20% of organization problems and opportunities come directly from disconnects found between process boundaries. Just getting Process Owners to correctly identify their customers can often provide a breakthrough. In addition, suppliers are rarely given guidance on what they must provide a process to be successful. Best practice performance always includes customer/supplier engagement that provides clear boundary specifications.


5. Effective Business Systems and Processes Deliver Meaningful Value Propositions.  

The enterprise customer value proposition is built through a series of process-to-process value propositions that together form a strong chain of delivery. Each business process must contain a meaningful customer value proposition that seamlessly contributes to the betterment of the overall business system.


10 Reasons for Broken Processes


Performance Improvement is What Matters

Dramatic improvements can be obtained through a shift in the problem-solving paradigm. By moving thinking from a top-down vertical-view of the traditional organization management structure to a horizontal, workflow-based view of business systems and process management, the organization can create a workplace transparency and customer focused accountability that opens up opportunities previously hidden. Without a doubt, actively managing an organization’s business systems and processes can improve the customer experience, rapidly increase problem solving actions and improve enterprise performance.


Challenge the way you think about work.


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