Everything is a Process
By Michael R Weekes at WhatAboutQuality.com
I had a big job interview coming up and I was not sure how to handle the preparation. There were a few days until the big event, so I called my good friend, David Reilly. Dave and I had been friends for many years, after meeting in 1984 on Spring Break at a camp site inDaytona Beach. He later became my Best Man at my wedding in 1996. Dave would later rise to senior levels in the Mattel organization.
We had both come a long way from those early days, moving into electronics manufacturing. He was at Digital Equipment Corporation and I was Raytheon. One failed, one flourished.
I sought our Dave’s advice for a few reasons. He genuinely cared about my well-being and he was a sharp as they come. To me, these are the keys to any good relationship, professional or personal.
After expressing my anxiety about the job interview and the challenge it represented, he offered a very simple strategy. “Go up to the white board in the conference room, if there is one and draw a box, with an arrow going in on the left-hand side and an arrow coming out on the right-hand side. Label the one arrow as “inputs” and the other as “outputs”.
“Everything is a process”, he said. “If you remember this simple fact, you can model any business, define any problem, assess performance, analyze causes and improve those processes”.
Any process is merely a series of steps, which turns one thing into another, adding value along the way. Each step is dependent on the prior step to function of be capable of delivering its output or deliverable. If the requirements of each step are met, they will work right.
This satisfaction of a requirement is how I define quality, by the way.
It was remarkable simply and freeing how I could eliminate my fear with this simple paradigm. By having the creativity and initiative to ask if I could get up and do something in the interview, it showed confidence and an ability to lead, instruct and connect!
This all reminded me of a training course I took years earlier from a man named Crosby, the author of the book Quality is Free. He defined a few simple key truths about what quality really was and how to use it to reduce costs like operational expenses and improve the effectiveness of the business process.
Whether the process is approving an insurance claim, making an automobile engine, educating a student or training a volunteer, all these activities are a series of steps. If you define them, in a map or model, you are well on your way to improving that process. You begin to see opportunities.
Non-profit organizations, manufacturers, governments and schools and healthcare providers are ALL trying to do more with less. By first modeling the process you reveal where the opportunities are to reduce costs, regain income and further delight customers, clients, employees and your leadership.
It does not cost extra money to invest in quality improvement, because you start reducing the money you are spending on not doing it right to begin with. Quality improvement pays for itself, as much as ten-fold or more. Average efforts can save an organization $200,000 a year. What’s that worth to you?
If you would like to ask a question or learn more about how your organization can save as much as $200,000 a year, contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (716) 517-7957 or visit whataboutquality.com. Because Everything IS a Process!