In the quest to become more productive, we all try a lot of different approaches to improve the way we work. Some people will try to work with consultants or coaches, some will try new technologies. Unfortunately some folks will decide that it's beyond their power to change and will do nothing.
One of the most powerful approaches to consider how you do business is to step outside your regular business process and consider it as if you were a customer or a vendor to the process or organization you wish to improve. We are often so caught up in our own culture and process that we neglect to consider what the situation we are in might look like from a disinterested viewer's perspective. Ask yourself this question - have I ever had to be a customer of my process? I call this the Rubik's cube view of life.
Remember the Rubik's cube? A simple cube with six sides and nine squares on a side? All you had to do was move the squares around until all sides contained nine squares with the same color. I likethe cube as an analogy because the Rubik's cube forces the person trying to solve it to move it around and examine it from many different perspectives. How often do we do that when we think about our business processes?
What I often want to do is step outside my business process or function and look at it as if I am on the "outside looking in" - as if I am a disinterested third party. If I were that disinterested third party, would I think the process makes sense? Does it solve my needs? Does it address what I want as a customer or a vendor to that process? I wrote earlier in this blog about Stapling Yourself to an order. How many of us have been consumers of our own process or service?
I often wonder if any senior executive of my bank has ever called the bank's call centers seeking help for a problem. If they have, then they obviously don't understand customer service. My suspicion is that none of the senior executives there have called customer service to test what it's like to interact with the service agents. Not to cast stones - I'm guilty of this too, and we've learned some things about trying out our own services and are looking at ways to improve them from a customer's perspective.
What should you do? Step outside of your function or your business process and look at it critically. What would a disinterested observer say about the process? Does it make sense? Can it be improved, both from the perspective of the flow of information and from the perspective of the people - customers and vendors to the process - who have to interact with it?