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“As part of the management team, I realized that Finance, Accounting, and Administration needed to build an understanding of how Lean works for the administrative side and in support of our manufacturing Lean Journey. This class solidified the concepts and philosophy with specific examples that enabled me to internalize the knowledge. I plan on getting together with two plant controllers to do additional training and projects in the local area, and implement improvements like the ones I did in class of the value stream mapping of the month end close.”

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5 Tips to Build BPM Leader Success – Part 2

Screen Shot 2014-03-01 at 4.28.14 PMDo your executives have the skills and experience to lead a cross-functional process focused organization?  This is the second part of a blog that focuses on how to motivate, engage, and coach the Executive Sponsor and Process Owner during a BPI project.

 3. Guidance during the BPI Project – During the BPI project the Project Lead and BPM Team Facilitator need to have scheduled meetings with the Process Owner and Executive Sponsor. (The Executive Sponsor is optional, but the Process Owner needs to keep him informed if he does not attend.)  This meeting should take place about 3 times during the BPI project, after each phase, e.g. after Process Discovery, Process Analysis, Process Design, and Process Analysis.  The Project Lead and Team Facilitator are sharing what has happened in the project during that phase.  For example, during the Process Discovery phase they would be sharing the current state process diagram(s), the baseline values for the metrics, and what challenges and improvement ideas have already surfaced.  The Process Owner needs to know what questions to ask, and also know what actions he should volunteer to take.  I provide them a cheat sheet ahead of time with relevant questions and actions at each phase. The BPM Facilitator can bring some of those questions up as well.  Of course, you always want to know what interests them, or what their perspective is at each phase.

4. Engage the Process Owner and Executive Sponsor provocatively.  At each of these BPI review meetings with the leaders, think about how to engage them meaningfully.  In other words, look at the process from their level and identify what will interest them and focus on those topics.  I have two that always work: (1) the voice of the customer and (2) visual analysis.  After the team has collected input from the customer, everyone wants to know about it.  So have it summarized in a simple but meaningful way — such as what they want, need and desire from the process, how the process is evaluated today, and what an excellent evaluation would look like in the future.  In addition to the overall summary, have a few stories that come from the customer’s mouth.

Visual analysis is another method.  Here show the current process diagram in swimlanes (This is a “yawner” by itself.) and put icons on it to show where there are wastes, where the customer needs new functionality or says something is missing, or how long certain subprocesses take.  Turn the process diagram into a picture with key problem or opportunity areas highlighted.  This makes the diagram come alive and is a great conversation starter with the executives.

5. Help them tell compelling stories – An action that the Process Owner and Executive Sponsor need to be doing continuously is talking about the BPI project, what it is, its goal, where it is in the project life cycle, some challenges, and memorable stories that reveal interesting facts or show early successes.  So help them have some sound bites to do this.  Besides comments from the customer and highlights on the visual analysis map, another good sound bite is possibility is about quantitative data.  Once the baseline values are known, the executive can easily say, “Today the hiring process takes 6 – 18 months and our target is to reduce that in half.”  He could go on and say, “The BPI team sees many opportunities to streamline the process and we will use technology to make workflow easier and information transparent to all involved.”  Another example, would be data on some Quick Wins.   For example, he could say, “ We currently have 15 different hiring processes across our organization.  Each one uses different templates and forms.  We are studying them to standardize the information from the best examples, and will have two of these available online for a Quick Win in just two more weeks.”

From your role as a BPM Team Facilitator or Project Lead, it is helpful to have these compelling sound bites ready for the Process Owner and discuss them; then have a shared repository where you can put them for their use.

Want to learn more about how to support and engage the BPM leaders? There are lots of ideas in my new book, The BPI Blueprint:  A Step-By-Step Guide to Make Your Business Process Improvement Projects Simple, Structured and Successful, which is now available on Amazon. The BPI Blueprint provides a detailed plan of action to create results the first time, inspire leaders of business processes, and build invigorated skilled teams. It’s a simple, no nonsense, guide to help you develop and manage effective Business Process Improvement projects, regardless of your experience-level. 

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