Towards the end of a meeting the other day, a client asked an interesting question: ‘How can I justify introducing more structure and process into my business?’
I hasten to add that my client is a recently appointed leader of a well-regarded business. But underneath the surface there is not much clarity about how the business does what it does.
Sure, the organisation’s key offerings and big building blocks are clear. But when you start asking about individuals’ roles and responsibilities and the profitability of individual service lines, the answers aren’t readily forthcoming. Maybe this has something to do with why the organisation has had to eat into its reserves over the last few years.
In response to my client’s question, I said that one of leadership’s key responsibilities is to create a business environment where success is inevitable. To create this business environment, you need structure and process. Some of the key benefits of such an environment are:
Repeatable and predictable business performance – and a baseline from which performance can be improved
Clarity about who does what. Processes don’t have to be re-invented every time the same task comes along.
Minimisation of duplication of effort. Everyone is clear about what everyone else is doing
Ultimately, a shared understanding about how the business meets the needs of all of its key stakeholders – and makes money at the same time.
Oh, and since the business that my client leads has clarified the profitability of individual service lines, and delineated key roles and responsibilities, it has started to reverse its fortunes. It recently posted a profit – for the first time in about 4 years.
I’ve helped many clients see the benefits of structure and process. There’s a compelling case for businesses having adequate structure and process after all.
What benefits have you seen from good structure and process?