Performance Lever 2: Workflow or Processes

The workflows or work processes that help managers’ direct everyday work play a key role in every organization. When customer needs and desires become clouded by ongoing organizational routines and unexpected demands an established workflow keeps efforts focused on customer needs.

Workflows are the vehicles that move unfinished products and information through an organization and across functional boundaries.  The final destination of this product or information is the external customer.

Effectively “handing off” information and products instead of just, “throwing it over the wall,” requires that managers direct collaborative relationships between individuals and teams.  All while maintaining a clear and tenacious focus on customer needs.

Whether internal to a team or crossing functional boundaries, effective workflows consider the needs of each individual involved.  This consideration of those that touch and change the information or product, however, is in the service of the external customer.

Despite the distance many employees have from external customers, individuals participate in workflows as a single unit toward a common end: customer value.

If workflows are to balance the needs of all involved, external and internal customers, then a number of behavioral characteristics must be present. Some of these are as follows:

  • Workflows are clearly documented and guide everyday work.
  • Functional groups revisit agreements, needs, and requests that impact the workflow.
  • Managers know what is needed by those working in the workflows.
  • Managers are constantly communicating with those participating in the workflows.

Although a clear strategy and goals and well designed workflow are necessary to drive performance they are not sufficient. Next week I will present Performance Lever 3: Expectations.

Timothy E. LaMacchio, Business Performance Engineer, Red Book Solutions

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