The “blue screen of death”, the “spinning wheel of death” – these are words that we use when describing a process which we fear will lead us to lose something. How often do we reference the “method to our madness”? And those are only a few references we have in our day to day language which imply process is inefficient or ineffective. No wonder we struggle to implement improved processes in our firms!

Where do you start? Ask questions about places where there is frustration – frustration in delays, duplications, or amount of time required.

Listen for a theme or direction, and begin there in assessing the problems. The assessing process includes documenting the specific steps involved, and including everyone involved in the process. Beware of a desire to move through this element rapidly. The assessment of the process being reviewed is the foundation to improvement so move efficiently, and effectively, in the mapping phase.

Once you have the steps documented and examined from all angles, move into analysis by including conversations with the people involved in this process. Start with the end in mind. Where do we want to be when we are done? Then analyze the steps backward until you have considered the opportunities for improvement in each piece of the process.

Now that you have identified the places for improvement, it’s time to implement.

As you roll out your new processes, or the improvements in your process, consider the impact on the people involved. There is often resistance to these changes, so incorporate a pilot program to generate buy in, or provide training for everyone involved to understand the new system. Know that process improvement often involves mistakes and missteps, and allow space for people to course correct with good communication and feedback.

An additional consideration is the extra resources, potentially including full job positions, which will be available to use elsewhere. Understand this can be a very stressful process for the individuals contributing to the improvement of their system, so provide answers and demonstrate how you will handle any excess headcount.

Our daily lives are filling with processes, and not just the ones in technology. Continual process improvement provides the forward looking approach that successful firms have. If you’re looking for help in your process improvement cycle, join us in Orlando for the Managing Partner/Executive Director Forum, where we will provide action items for your firm.

Join us in Orlando for the inaugural Managing Partner/Executive Director forum where we will discuss delegation, providing insight into how you can pass the baton in your firm.

Practical and applicable solutions. We guarantee it.



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About Judy Hissong

Judy Hissong is the President of Nesso Strategies. A former law firm Chief Operating Officer, she helps firms become more profitable by developing leaders. Her mission is “world domination for Good.” By creating actionable, lightbulb moments that leaders want to share and spread, she intends to improve the world one person at a time.

Judy Hissong