The tradition of making New Year’s resolutions has been around for a long time. It has been said that ancient Babylonians were the first to use New Year’s resolutions, promising to improve themselves as part of celebrations each spring. In present day, many of us make New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier, exercise more, lose weight, or otherwise improve. Using a milestone to assess situations and plan for improvements can work just as well in the business world, too.
In addition to the opportunity for a “new year/new you,” the fresh start offered at a turn of the calendar also provides opportunity for improvement in ongoing, oft-overlooked business practices. By reevaluating and shoring up the health of operational processes, a slimmer operating model and added capacity for business growth may be uncovered. By applying the analogy of personal resolutions to operational processes, you may seek:
A Healthier Diet: Just as nutritious food fuels a body’s energy, healthy inputs to processes can energize and streamline work. For example, is redundant data being collected and stored for common functions? Are multiple sources being used (and paid for) to obtain similar data? Are initial data inputs certified for validity, reasonability, and reliability?
A Better Workout: Bodies are made to move, and the same can be said for processes — are they nimble, or inflexible? Can procedures accommodate new distribution channels or product expansion? Clunky hand-offs across teams can be sources of errors or missteps, so flexible, automated workflows with full status transparency and escalations are important to success. Adaptability accommodates change, thus enabling growth.
A More Slender Profile: Unlike the extra steps sought to meet daily goals as measured with pedometers, extra steps in operations can add up to a crippling burden. Rather than having a goal to increase steps, businesses should strive to pare down steps by eliminating redundancies. Seek opportunities to streamline processes and narrow the focus to higher-impact activities.
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