Signs your processes are stuck and how to get them flowing again

Somewhere in your business’ database you have a file labeled “Processes”. It contains all flowcharts and work instructions you do in your business, from accounts receivables to entering orders, and how to recruit talent. But somehow things are still messy, details get overlooked; things do not flow. Is it a COVID-19 effect or is it something else about your processes? Sure, the whole world is in flux and circumstances change at a whim. Procedures and operations are not always flexible enough to minimize the impact of changing the world of business.

Some of the symptoms that the procedures are not being followed:

  1. People are stressed out just going through a process. so, they find loopholes and shortcuts. They start working outside the system. There is a proliferation of Excel worksheets as a lifeline. There is a sense of cynicism in the air of your organization.

  2. The “We’ve-always-done-it-this-way” Syndrome starts creeping up on conversations and meetings.

  3. Technology and systems do not reflect, match and service what you are physically doing.

  4. You noticed you have not received that particularly important weekly report in months.

Re-think and Question. Everything.

It is time to rethink your processes. So much is in flux during these times that our processes may have become obsolete or are lagging. The pandemic has made processes obsolete and in need of some TLC. People are stressed out and manage to find loopholes and shortcuts, working outside the system. There is a proliferation of Excel worksheets as a lifeline. You sense cynicism in the air of your organization. It is time to revamp your processes.

Attack your list of processes, each the procedure itself. Look at the steps required and ask your team:

  • Is the process clear or vague?

  • Does it facilitate or obstruct the work that needs to be done?

  • Are there any steps or tasks that can be omitted or changed?

  • Are the documents accessible and used on a normal basis?

  • How to best organize our processes and execution?

Communicate Ad Nauseum

Perhaps more than any other skill, the quality and quantity of communications is crucial to survival. Having the right information at the right time can be the difference of a strong alignment between people and their tasks, or it can be a source of confusion and frustration. Clear information drives people beyond the day to day activities and into a more profound collaboration. The more stakeholders know the subject of each process and the business it is serving, the more they can challenge the activities and effectiveness of the process, they can understand where focus is needed, and assess potential risks and how to swiftly spring back .

Be a razor-sharp Beam of Focus

Even if the world feels as spiraling out of control, have some control over ourselves and our businesses. Focused process definition, decision making, and deliverables will drive excellence and speed in execution.

So, align your current state with the required outcome. What or who does the process serve? What steps are redundant or have no clear purpose? Deep dive into each step of the process and determine if it adds value and minimizes waste. As Henry Ford once said: “If it doesn’t add value, it is waste”.

Put some Human-ness into the processes

Although we have come to believe business as a world of facts, figures and charts that favors logic over emotions, recent and ever-growing research shows that as humans, we cannot separate emotions from intellect. Use Human Centered Design principles to create systems and processes that take humans into consideration.

  1. Ensure you solve the core and root issues.

  2. Focus on people, the ones who will carry out the tasks and the customers (internal and external) they will serve.

  3. Acknowledge that process’ tasks are interdependent and should be treated as such.

  4. Test and refine your processes until they truly meet the needs of the people for whom they are intended


Processes evolve and change with technology, circumstances, and market needs. It is important to document them, so people know what the deliverables and expectations are. Once documented, they should be revised when changes occur, or red flags. Ultimately, this exercise is a great tool to drive operations alignment in your organization with service levels and market needs. It serves as a foundation for risk assessment and enables for a more adequate and timely planning approach. It should be done frequently as part of your internal meetings, with disciplined resolution of conflicts and issues, and removal of obstacles.

Questioning, communicating, focusing, and feeling your processes will:

  • Reduce waste and operational costs. By revising your processes, you build them to the bare minimum necessary. No part will be redundant. No time will be lost.

  • Eliminate obstacles, real and perceived. It will give you a sense of control. Processes are the internal passages of how to do things, developing a sense of teamwork and clarity. Clear and concise, easy to follow procedures, with accessible documentation makes people independent.

  • Involve all stakeholders, which will bring flexibility and independence. A happy team that fosters growth engaged in what really matters!

If you need help revamping or documenting your process contact us at:

R&B Consulting Group

Phone :+1 (905) 757 9250


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