Broken Processes

Most of us have heard stories from business owners or senior-level managers that they are “disappointed” in the performance of an individual, or possibly an entire sales or operational team or department. Common descriptors in these narratives are under-performing, not meeting the quota, or maybe he/she isn’t focused. Additionally, we hear frustration on how best to resolve the performance problem. Too often someone is fired.

It’s granted that sometimes their disappointment was warranted. People and teams do underperform and should be held accountable. But sometimes the perceived or actual shortfall in performance is more accurately attributed to the lack of or one or more broken business processes. We call them process gaps.

Frequently the root cause of the disappointment—the lack of expected or desired performance—can be significantly attributed to:

  1. The complete lack of a specific process,
  2. A dysfunctional process,
  3. The failure of employees to adhere to a well-established process, or
  4. The absence of training to an effective process.

If you are a manager of company top and bottom-line performance and are disappointed in an individual’s apparent performance shortfalls, consider looking at the performance GAPS from two perspectives—consider if it is people (capabilities and behaviors) or process-driven (this is how we do this). The strong likelihood is that a supportive process can be established, improved, and/or trained that will enhance individual or team performance.

A final thought to consider, focusing on the fourth point above, we posit that employee capabilities and behaviors can be significantly improved through training, coaching, and mentoring … to complement a solid process. Many reputable sources recommend that “employee development” should be funded by at least 5%, to as much as 15% of revenues.

“If you think training is expensive, try ignorance.” – Peter Drucker

We agree with Peter.


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