Every one of us interacts with and works within processes each day. Processes develop by design or by default. 

An organization is only as good as its processes.
Geary A. Rummler and Alan P. Brache

Many times, our processes work because of sheer luck—without any clear intent other than to get from point A to point B. We often do not notice a process until things go wrong or workflow does not function smoothly.

Processes either work or don’t work for the customer.

Stand in line at the post office to buy stamps and just watch. You might be fortunate enough to walk in and go right to the counter. I rarely have that opportunity. 

Instead, I find myself about the sixth person in line behind the person with eight large packages. I have plenty of time to assess the process—mine, as the customer, and the postal worker at the counter.

Some days, the process works smoothly. Even with a long line, transactions occur quickly. I do not pay much attention to the process, I just keep moving up in the line. 

But some days, I have more than enough time to assess, analyze, and consider improvements to the process. 

During the holidays, one of the busiest times for the post office, we all stand in the same line. Whether you have packages or just need a stamp, you all stand in the same line. 

Where is the express lane?  Why would you not create a designated line for packages? A simple change in the process would have allowed over half the people in line to buy stamps and leave within five minutes. 

We encounter processes everywhere.

We get dressed in the morning—a process. We load and unload the dishwasher—a process. We hire new employees—a process.

Many processes begin with the output of another process, and your process often feeds into the process of another department or function. Nothing happens in a vacuum.

In a system, the effectiveness of one process affects the quality of another process or even several processes. Transforming an organization and striving for excellence ultimately lies in the ability of our processes to create quality products and services.

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.
Stephen R. Covey

What is the main thing for you or your organization? What if you and your leadership team knew which processes supported your goals?

When we can answer that question, we put ourselves in a better position to make decisions. We can improve what we do. And even consider what we should abandon.

We tend to hold onto systems or processes that no longer serve us or the customer. Just because we have always done it this way does not mean we should continue to do it this way. 

Before we can make that distinction, we must know what we do and how we do it. What can you improve today? What worn out process can you and your team abandon?

And always—

Be kind. Be brave. Be you.