“The best preparation for good work tomorrow is to do good work today.” ~Elbert Hubbard
Preparation is the essence of workflow. In general, workflow consists of a thoughtful sequence of connected steps. Workflows are viewed as the building block of organizations. When executed correctly, workflow systems break down complex processes into doable chunks and turn what used to be a bumpy ride into a slip n’ slide for your workers – easy, free-flowing and fun!
As a teenage employee of a Midwestern call center I used to go in circles around the call flow they wanted us to use. It felt jumbled, choppy and awkward. They insisted that addressing people in this particular order would really boost sales. One day I wrote my own script using their workflow but integrated my language and style. My manager was astounded that I made 10 sales in 3 hours! That script was the workflow tool that helped me slip n’ slide my way to long-distance sales perfection.
Workflow Consists of 4 Parts:
- Systematic Process of Activities
- Planning and Scheduling of Supporting Actions
- Speed and Volume Control of the Work
- Progress Visibility
You can start creating workflow by defining the value of each daily task. Then map the tasks by that value to create a workflow customized to your day that simplifies tasks and improves how long it takes to complete. Once you have a workflow outline in place, you can move to step two which involves creating and scheduling supporting tasks that will aid your workflow on its journey. Step three can be tricky but the goal is to maintain a perfect balance between completing tasks in a timely manner and not doing things too quickly or overwhelming yourself and your employees with too much volume on the schedule. This can increase the likelihood of mistakes. Improve your workflow and visibility throughout all of your daily processes using the following key tools.Keys to Workflow Simplification | Easy as 1-2-3
1. Mistake-Proofing: Use a mistake prevention approach (checklists, shift hand-off cards, recipe cards, etc.)
2. Visual Workplace: Use visual controls and displays to help employees maintain control of their work areas and assess performance at a glance. (Color coding, arrows and marked baskets or containers achieve this)
3. Kaizen: Japanese for continuous improvement on top of continuous improvement. (There’s always room to get better. Instill this belief in your employees and watch the innovation grow!)
The Journey to Perfection
While the ultimate goal of any workflow system is to create complete order and harmony in your daily routine and that of your staff, managers can simply add perspective and predictability to routines with workflow to quickly and easily improve efficiency. Finding tools that guide and drive your ability to achieve organization is key to creating the lean, simple workflow you need to be highly productive each and every day. Give it a try and let us know the results at the Better Managers Group page on Facebook or Twitter/bettermanagers hash tag #slipnslide.
By Danielle Lafontaine, Marketing Communications Manager, Red Book Solutions | 5 Years – Digital & Traditional Marketing Copywriter with Ad Agency and Corporate Marketing Experience | Social Media Guru & Community Builder with B2B and B2C Chops