Broken Business Processes


Business processes define how work gets done in every organization, regardless of size, shape, or type. Did you know that about 72% of all organizational problems lay hidden in broken business processes?

The Cause


Organizations are traditionally managed by departments. In contrast, work flows horizontally, from department-to-department, function-to-function, and job-to-job. The gap created by these organizational silos offers a substantial untapped improvement opportunity.

Top 10 Reasons for 
Broken Business Processes


Process not defined.

Good process management begins by defining a process, its customers, suppliers, inputs, outputs, and tasks. Because most business processes are created ad-hoc to solve a business problem, and then evolve, most organizations don't have processes adequately defined.

Process not owned.

Most organizations are managed vertically, where the organization chart lays out a hierarchical structure of responsibilities and accountabilities. Effective performance improvement must include managing the individual ownership of processes that cross these boundaries.

Purpose not understood.

Processes can be complex or simple, long or short, and produce one or many products or services. Regardless, a process must have a worthy purpose or it should be eliminated.

Process not followed.

Organizations often try to overcome broken processes by hiring superheroes to address the many obstacles to solving problems. Superheroes burnout, while processes stay broken.

Customer not understood.

Every process serves a customer. Organizations rarely know the customers of their internal processes, what those customers need to succeed, and to what extent their internal processes are meeting customer needs.

Supplier not understood.

Every process is also served by a supplier. In general, companies do not know the suppliers to their internal processes, what their processes need from those suppliers and to what extent process needs are being met.

Cumbersome to execute.

Because processes frequently grow into existence without intentional design, they meander across organizations through the development of “good ideas” that add extra steps and additional work-around activities.

Loaded with waste.

Value-added tasks are tasks the customer would be willing to pay for. When processes have not been fully defined and analyzed, we find that non-value added work is usually in the 80 to 90% range.

Performance not measured.

Most companies measure what is easy versus what is valuable. Good process measurement captures both effectiveness (the extent to which the process delights its customer) and efficiency (the extent to which the process uses minimum resources.)

Not linked to strategy.

Strategy without strong process is like a head without a body. Process is how leadership implements its strategic intention.

“Behind every unhappy customer lays a
broken business process.”


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