Business process reengineering requires project management practitioners to leverage various methodologies such as Lean Six Sigma, PMP and Prince 2 to deliver process efficiency and bottom line savings.
Although these methodologies are used for various purposes in solving for efficiency, there isn’t much focus on the psychological side of project management. My goal is to share key learnings across people, process, and tools that can help you in your business process reengineering efforts.
I realized the importance of understanding group dynamics when I managed my first project. The effort I was leading consisted of volunteers from other parts of the organization.
At first, the team members were excited about being on a high profile initiative. As the project progressed, however, I noticed the team’s energy declining. It started to impact the completion of tasks, and I was getting concerned that it could result in the project being delayed.
I couldn’t understand why they weren’t making their tasks a priority, especially since senior management was monitoring the initiative.
I decided to conduct a survey to understand what they thought of my leadership, what they thought of each other, and what they thought they could gain from this project.
The outcome was that I was pushing them too hard to meet deadlines, team members weren’t investing equal amount of effort, and they didn’t see how this initiative would help their career.
From that point forward, I had weekly 15 to 20 minute one-on-one meetings with each team member to build a personal rapport and further understand what he or she had on his or her plate. These meetings helped me gauge if my timelines were too strict or if the individual had conflicting deliverables.
As project managers, we have to remind ourselves that many of the resources working with us on projects are not solely dedicated to our initiative –they have day jobs with other priorities.
Since the team felt that there were some individuals putting in more effort than others, I decided to have a team-building event where we reviewed everyone’s personality type.
I used the Myers-Briggs Personality Type test to help educate everyone on his or her own personality type and understand how his or her personality fit into the overall team. This exercise was instrumental in helping the team understand how each worked and modify any previous perceptions.
Lastly, team member engagement increases when a sponsor is present; therefore, I asked senior management to randomly attend our meetings. It definitely motivated the team, and it gave them an opportunity to shine in front of senior management.
Overall, it’s important for project managers to invest the time in getting to understand the dynamics of their team. Not doing so may result in delayed project timelines and in some instances, undermining the entire effort. Here are some criteria I’ve used in leading successful business process reengineering teams.
Key Criteria for Leading a Successful Project Team
- Know how to adapt your leadership style
- Build relationships with each team member (even if virtual) before the kick-off meeting
- Understand the “What’s In It for Me” (WIIFM) factor for each individual including sponsors/stakeholders
- Leverage Myers-Briggs profiles (e.g., ISTJ, ENTP, ENTJ) to better understand how a team will work together
- Become familiar with Tuckman’s five stages of group development (Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning)
- Identify potential blockers (individuals who may intentionally or unintentionally undermine your project)
- Assess who is the informal leader within your team
I learned to appreciate the complexity of building a project pipeline when I had to “hunt” for business process reengineering projects. At first, it was overwhelming because I was now responsible for delivering savings without having any projects at hand.
I found that even within the same business unit, there were similar processes that evolved independently of each other. So, my approach was to look at processes holistically rather than by department or geography.
As ideas developed, I met with the people doing the job. If I felt there was an opportunity, I either shadowed them for the day or conducted a phone interview. Either way, I worked with them to document the reality of the process.
Once I had enough data, I brainstormed with colleagues on the “What could go wrong?” factor. These sessions typically involved individuals who would poke holes into my ideas and had no problem telling me what they thought. It was important for me to have this type of forum because it allowed me to flesh out the risks that could result from changing the process.
After passing some more litmus tests, I then worked closely with Finance. Mainly because the department typically deducts savings from the profit and loss statement and on a monthly basis, forecasts the financial savings/contributions one’s project will generate. So, it was in my best interest to make sure the business process reengineering project savings were always aligned.
Hunting for projects requires one to have strong relationship building skills and an eye for identifying opportunities. By going outside of my parameters, I was able to find new ideas and test those ideas to generate several viable global reengineering opportunities. Below are some additional criteria I’ve used that may be helpful.
Key Criteria for Streamlining Process and Reengineering
- Ensure savings in project charter/cost benefit analysis are regularly updated with the numbers reported by Finance/Controllership
- Include an on-going “What can go wrong?” agenda item in meetings
- Survey sponsors and change targets to understand point of departure
- Shadow change targets and assess their change readiness level
- Identify process perception and compare to reality
- Use the Critical Chain Project Management methodology to manage process
- Leverage Kurt Lewin’s Change Management Model
I’ve seen hundreds of business process reengineering tools as I’ve progressed from project manager to portfolio-level leader. In the end, the best tool out there really depends on your organizational culture, technology infrastructure, and project management readiness level.
I found that companies more often tend to create bespoke tools versus leveraging good ready-made tools like Agile. I’ve used bespoke tools to ready-made tools and found that there isn’t one tool to solve for all situations. Currently, I like to use Scrum because of its flexibility and tracking flows.
My recommendation is to advocate for business process reengineering tools that you think can work within your organization. There are many sites out there that provide solution comparisons that can help you find the right tool for you.
In conclusion, project managers are expected to deliver results in shorter timelines with fewer resources. Strong relationships could mean the difference between having someone put your project at the top or bottom of his or her priority list.
Demonstrating relevance is important in today’s economy especially as many companies are engraining “innovation” or “transformation” into their DNA, if they haven’t done so already; therefore, being a great communicator and relationship builder is equally important as being a great technician.
This is the formula I’ve used over the years: 80 percent people + process (relationship/knowledge skills) and 20 percent tools (technical skills). It’s served me well – particularly when implementing new ways to manage projects (e.g., Critical Chain Project Management). Hope you find it useful.
How to prepare for the first crisis in your restaurant
Even restaurant marketing that has been well thought out doesn’t exclude a crisis or two. As a restaurant owner or manager, you have to be prepared for everything, even the worst case scenario. Your business may be all well right now – but that’s exactly the time to think about possible worse times.
Listen in order to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses
Everyone likes to listen to praise. It motivates us, it helps us deal with everyday work, and it reminds us why we chose to do what we do. As great as it is hearing all about our strengths, you should be all ears when somebody points out any weaknesses of your business. It’s not pleasant, sure, but knowing what goes wrong or could go wrong – this knowledge prepares you for the kind of crisis we’re talking about. So, if somebody points out that your online restaurant marketing needs improvement, don’t belittle the problem or it could grow into a crisis.
Control your reviews
Do you know that the whole concept of restaurant marketing could go badly wrong just because of your customer reviews? What one customers writes, another can read, and then form an opinion about your restaurant without even ordering an appetizer. You have to take control over the reviews – and you can do that using an online food ordering system just like UpMenu which allows you to check the review before anyone else sees it and then share it – if you want to.
Think fast! And react
There’s no way to predict a crisis exactly. When it’s there, it’s probably too late to fix the problem altogether and sweep it under the rug – it won’t just pass by unnoticed. Since you won’t be able to make things right immediately, you have to think of the best plan of action to undertake. For example, if it’s restaurant marketing that suffers, you have to know exactly what is wrong with it, who is responsible for the trouble, what are the options to make it better, and who should be in charge of improving the situation.
Talk things through
It’s all fun and games to talk about success, but nobody really wants to talk about failure. People tend to think that if they don’t address the problem, it will just magically disappear. You have to go the other way: if there’s something wrong with your restaurant marketing, a first step to solving the problem is saying it out loud. It’s better to shout out a question than silently look on as the crisis approaches. You have to communicate your problems, because you won’t get through a potential crisis all by yourself.
Big problems, like a crisis in your restaurant, may wake up some instincts in you weren’t even aware of. When a crisis comes, you will think as the captain of a sinking ship, but you cannot forget you have a crew by your side. Don’t they deserve to know what’s happening? If the ship is sinking, you have to let them know.
Talk to your staff
I bet your restaurant management plan didn’t include a situation when you have to fire somebody who did nothing wrong or tell them you cannot pay them everything they earned. Every member of your staff has to be aware of the situation you’re in. Praise them if it goes well, warn them if you predict some changes when it comes to earnings.
Don’t take anything for granted
One day everything goes great but another – even the best restaurant marketing strategies won’t help you. People’s choices change, the market changes, and so too does the economy. In general, times change and so will your business. If it goes bad, within a few months your crowded restaurant can be empty.
As you see, there are a lot of reasons for your restaurant to fall into crisis. Some of them are irreversible and for those you have to be prepared. But there are also those that are totally up to you. They can happen or not, depending on what kind of restaurant marketing and management you run. Keep that in mind and you will greatly lower the chances of having a crisis.
5 Common Scheduling Issues and How to Avoid Them
Creating a reliable and effective work schedule is crucial to growing your business. A great timetable will make your employees happy, which will attract more customers.
On the flipside, a poorly-constructed schedule could have serious consequences.
Employee fatigue has been the cause of many disasters, like the Chernobyl nuclear explosion and the Exxon Valdez oil spill. As a manager, you’ve got to be aware of your employees’ feelings, mentally and physically.
Failing to notice these problems could hurt your company, causing financial loss. Read on to learn about 5 common scheduling issues, and how you can make work schedules work for you.
1. Overworked Workers
As a member of the retail or service industry, you’re no doubt familiar with the dreaded “clopening.” A closing shift (ending at 10 or 11 PM) followed immediately by an opener (beginning 7 or 8 AM) is a lot to put on one person.
Driving and taking care of essential needs can take 2 or more hours. This schedule for work leaves your employee with 6 hours or less to sleep. S/he will come in the next morning exhausted, and you’ll suffer lost time, productivity, or both.
Avoid employee fatigue with software that looks for consecutive shifts and corrects them. Combat it with breaks and regular shift check-ins.
Making schedules for employees requires careful planning. As a leader, understanding your workers’ needs will make you more effective.
They’ll thank you for it by being more productive.
3. Sudden No-Shows
Studies show that 38% of employees have called out of work despite feeling fine.
Last-minute absences can cause severe scheduling issues. Doctor’s appointments, children, and car problems are just a few reasons someone may fail to come into work.
Making a work schedule that fits everyone’s needs is truly an art. Smart software can help alleviate the panic of trying to cover a shift. Allowing employee swaps or having separate teams of workers can help.
Hubworks rolled out their staff scheduling app in order to combat many scheduling issues. Check out their helpful guide to discover the benefits of smart work schedules.
4. Worker Turnover
A long-suffering employee can spell disaster for your company. Losing a few employees won’t be a major downfall. However, high employee turnover can hurt your profit and image.
Hiring someone means investing time, money, and resources to training and onboarding them. If you continue to lose people, it’s time to reassess scheduling issues and management style.
Above all, happy employees mean happy customers.
5. Too Few or Too Many
Too many workers on a shift can be just as bad as too few.
Your budget will shrink fast, and you’ll have to send people home. This means less time and money in both of your pockets.
Only schedule the people you need for that shift. You should alternate workers so that no one works multiple shifts in a row. Employees notice fairness – or lack thereof.
The Art of Combating Scheduling Issues
Figuring out how to schedule employees can be the difference between an okay-manager and a great one. It takes finesse, intelligence, and a dedicated team of individuals to overcome scheduling issues.
To get the best results you’ll need an innovative support system and advanced AI. Check out these great employee management programs to simplify your life.
How to Thrive in a Competitive Industry
There are many competitive industries in the UK. Keeping a close eye on what your competitors are doing is essential to making sure that your business can stay one step ahead of the competition.
Consumers can now find companies in the comfort of their own home. Your business may be great, but it also needs to be discovered by the right audience online. If you find yourself getting lost amongst your competitors, try a new angle and give customers something different.
Kamran Mirshahi is the director of Canary Claims, specialising in PPI claims. Customers can choose to make a claim themselves or use a reputable PPI claims company. But, even if a customer decides to use a PPI claims service, there are a number to choose from. In July 2018, the government put in place a fee cap for all PPI claims companies – and this created even greater competition as many companies now charge the same price.
Despite challenges and rogue PPI claims companies giving the industry a bad name, Kamran has succeeded and thrived in the market. Below, he outlines how your business can do the same.
Create a Unique Selling Point
What is your business’s unique selling point? There needs to be something different about you to stand out. It could be that all UK deliveries are free or you only stock ethical products. For service businesses, do you offer something free to try and convert customers? Whatever it is, make sure it’s different from your competitors.
As a PPI claims company, making our price substantially lower than many other companies was one way to thrive in the industry.
Offer the Best Price
The price point is essential for all companies. How do you balance making enough profit with giving customers a fair price? Return on Investment (ROI) is an important sum to understand. If you believe that a lower price for customers will result in more sales, it could be the right choice for your business. If you are charging a higher rate than your competitors, you should make it clear to customers why this is – and what value you bring to them by charging more.
Have an Easy-to-Use Website
It’s been thirty years since the World Wide Web launched. The technology has revolutionised the way that individuals and companies operate. For companies, the need to stand out during a user’s search is pivotal to success. Creating an SEO-optimised website has never been so important.
But, even once a user lands on your website, they need to be able to access all of the information they require easily. This means your website needs to be user-friendly and transparent. Your target audience might not be tech-savvy – how does the site look to them?
Having an easily accessible website is a winner. Does it have a clear call to action? Is the language easy to read? Can the customer find out all of the information they need quickly and concisely? If not, address these issues.
Be Upfront with Customers
Honesty and integrity are words that a lot of businesses use. But do they all follow them through? Being upfront with customers about what they can expect from your product or service – as well as the cost – is vital.
One of the reasons for shopping cart abandonment is due to high shipping fees that customers weren’t aware of when they started their online shopping. Giving this information to customers can help to reduce this from happening. For those offering services, be clear with your fees upfront. In the PPI claims market, the percentage on a successful claim can make a huge difference to people and showing off a low price can help to increase the number of sales.
Even in competitive markets, you can make your business stand out amongst the competition. Create the best possible website and tell customers why you are the best in your industry.
5 Essential Questions to Ask Before You Rent Office Space
Your business is running full steam ahead! So much so that you’re looking to rent new office space.
But before you sign that dotted line, do you know exactly what you’re getting into and how it will affect your business?
Many people don’t realize choosing the wrong office space can bring business to a screeching halt.
Before you let that happen to you, here are 5 important questions to ask before you rent office space.
1. Is the Location Convenient?
When it comes to real estate matters, it’s always about location, location, location. And the same holds true for your office space.
Make sure it’s a location your employees will be able to get to easily. You’ll want your clients to have no problems finding it. And having good amenities close by is a win for everybody.
2. Will the Size Work for My Needs?
Of course, you’ll want to rent out a space that will comfortably fit your team. But also think about any future growth.
Do you plan to add team members in the future? Will other members work remote and not need a desk?
It’s a balancing act between renting enough space or renting too much. If you think your needs will change, try using flexible workspaces like beoffices.com.
3. Is the Rent Within My Budget?
You want the best workspace possible, but you don’t want to stretch your budget too thin. That’s why you need to take all costs into consideration when renting office space.
Is the rent and deposit reasonable compared to other offices in the area? Are there any extra fees such as maintenance, security, or parking? What are the average utility bills for the space?
Every penny counts when meeting your budget, so read the fine print to find out exactly where your money is going.
4. Can I Get All the Services I Need?
Most businesses rely heavily on a fast and consistent internet speed. Not to mention mobile phone service, cable, and other infrastructures that help a business run smoothly.
Contact the building owner and find out what they offer. It might also be a good idea to ask other businesses in the building, or the area, how their services are.
Check your cell phone service in different areas of the space. Ask if you can do an internet speed test. If the service is great, the owner won’t hesitate to agree to the test.
5. Does the Building Fit with My Brand?
The style of the building tends to be low on many people’s priority list when renting office space, but don’t discount it. If you’re a business that wants to project a particular brand image, your office space plays a key role in that.
Does the decor of the building blend with your brand? Are you able to make changes if not? Would you be proud to post pictures of your office for clients to see?
If any of your answers are no, you may want to keep looking around.
Get All the Facts Before You Rent Office Space
Before you rent office space, do your research. By asking these important questions, you’ll be sure to find the office space that works best for you and your business.
Now that you’ve got your office space in order, ready to build your employee engagement? Check out these 5 tips to boost engagement today!
4 Networking Tips for Solopreneurs
As a solo entrepreneur, everything falls on your shoulders. If you don’t do something, it won’t get done. This includes networking. In order to build a thriving professional network, you have to prioritize time for establishing and nurturing mutually beneficial relationships.
The Value of Networking
Many entrepreneurs and freelancers see networking as something that they could do if they had more time. But it’s time to stop viewing networking as an optional or supplemental activity. Networking is, in fact, one of the single most important investments you can make in the longevity of your career.
Networking is all about building credibility and establishing long-term relationships that are mutually beneficial. It can take months or years for your efforts to pay off, but the results will come.
“Not all of your professional connections will need your services right away,” entrepreneur Neil Kokemuller admits. “However, since you have a connection with them, you have a top-of-mind-awareness advantage when they need your help. This point is especially true if you consistently keep your work and message in front of them.”
You’ll also find value in rubbing shoulders with people who are talented and skilled in areas that you aren’t. Not only can you gather insights and advice from them, but some of their knowledge may actually rub off on you.
4 Tips for Solopreneurs
As a freelancer or entrepreneur, you’re in a unique position. On the one hand, you don’t have access to some of the same networking resources that your employed peers do. However, you have the freedom and flexibility to pursue networking opportunities that others can’t. The key is to make the most of your situation and to continually pursue networking as a long-term investment. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Join Local Groups and Organizations
As a freelancer, you don’t have the benefit of being associated with an established business. This means you lack some of the same connections that employees of large organizations have. You can overcome this deficiency by joining local groups and organizations in your industry. Your membership in these groups will give you access to events, conferences, and career opportunities.
2. Leverage Your Personal Network
There’s also something to be said for leveraging your personal network to discover opportunities and find new connections. Every friend, relative, neighbor, or former classmate is a potentially valuable resource for you and your career. Cultivate these relationships by regularly catching up and/or informing them about what you’re doing.
3. Join a Coworking Space
For many freelancers, working from home is somewhat problematic in the sense that it eliminates your ability to rub shoulders with people on a daily basis. To combat this isolation, join a coworking space that allows you to mingle with other people, yet still remain focused and productive.
“Each tenant gets to be part of a larger network of lawyers, marketers, accountants, entrepreneurs, creatives, artists, and students,” Novel Coworking explains. “You can meet other tenants at networking events, happy hours, and lunch and learns. Your next intern, business partner, or customer could be just across the hallway from your office.”
The beauty of renting coworking space is that you have the flexibility to work when and where you want. If you’re getting cabin fever working from home, you can head to the coworking space for a change of scenery. If the weather is nasty and you don’t feel like going outside, you can simply work from home one day. It’s your call!
4. Build an Online Presence
In today’s world, online networking is just as important as in-person networking. As a solopreneur, you have just as much opportunity as the next professional to take full advantage of this.
The key to online networking is to establish a brand and build up a digital presence. You can do this by creating a website, developing social media profiles, publishing content, and utilizing LinkedIn or other online communities that are specific to your industry.
Adding it All Up
Networking isn’t easy or effortless. It’s gritty, tiresome work that often feels unrelenting and low-returning. However, a long-term investment will ultimately yield a healthy harvest of new opportunities. Prioritize networking, and you’ll infuse greater potential into your career. It’s as simple as that.
Hospitality Help: Tips to Use from Successful Franchises
What if your franchise investment financially ruins you?
Most entrepreneurs hope opening a franchise is their key to sustainable profit. However, it’s easy to make rookie mistakes that sink your business before it really gets off the ground.
Fortunately, you can follow the tips of successful franchises to make your own a smash hit! Keep reading to discover our handy hospitality help guide.
We hate to burst your bubble, but there’s something you should know: you’re not going to get rich quick as a franchisee.
Owning a franchise is mostly about embracing the “slow and steady win the race” mentality. Your goal is steady profit, and it’s hard enough to meet that goal. Overnight superstardom is not going to happen for you.
It sounds simple, but adjusting your expectations is one of the best moves you can make early on in your career. Instead of planning for explosive short-term success, you’ll start planning for long-term gains and growth.
All in all, it’s very Zen: only by accepting the very real possibility of failure can you achieve success.
Many workers see training as a one-shot deal. Someone like a managers gets specific training when they are hired and then they are good to go…right?
However, the challenges facing your franchise are going to change from year to year. And over enough time, your key demographics will change as well.
The solution to this is ongoing training and professional development opportunities for your managers and upper leadership. You can provide such training via multiple methods.
For example, training may be delivered via computer, in-person, or even via productivity apps such as Slack. Not only does this build better leaders, but it shows your employees you are invested in their success.
A successful franchise is something of a paradox. On one hand, part of your appeal is that customers are already familiar with your brand.
On the other hand, customers still want a unique experience. And this is where many franchises drop the ball.
You need to appeal to customers at the individual and community level. Don’t just sell them products: host special events, sponsor local charities, and so on.
Ultimately, you will attract more customers because they’ll want to support a company they see as supporting their community!
Talk With Your Peers
Sometimes, the simplest solutions are also the most effective. Want to figure out what makes a successful franchise? Then you should talk to a successful franchisee!
Don’t talk to just anyone, though. Ideally, you should speak with someone who owns a franchise of the same company and is relatively close to your area.
Such a person will know the ins and outs of running a successful franchise while navigating various corporate rules and regulations. And they will also know what makes the local population tick, giving you an advantage when it comes to sales and marketing.
You can also pair such discussions with your own external research. For instance, this helpful page is invaluable for those wanting a hotel franchise!
Want to hear the three words that spell doom for a franchise? Here they are: “not my job.”
Every employee has a special role to play in your organization. However, some employees are unable (or unwilling) to do anything outside of that role.
In a successful franchise, everyone should be willing to train everyone else. Employees shouldn’t be limited to their special skills: they must be able and willing to teach those skills to other people.
Make sure you are clear on this policy to anyone and everyone that you hire. When every worker is also willing to be a trainer and a leader, you will create a culture of success.
Set and Measure KPIs
Look, we get it: chances are you went into the franchise business to get away from the corporate world and be your own boss.
Nonetheless, there are certain corporate concepts that will help your business succeed. One of the most important is that you must have Key Performance Indicators.
The basic idea is that your franchise is never truly successful enough. You should have specific goals for the next weeks, months, and years, and you must have ways of measuring your success.
One simple way to do this is to rely on secret shoppers. That way, you can accurately gauge the experience your average customer has been having.
Location, Location, Location
You can build your franchise pretty much anywhere. Of course, that can be a good thing and a bad thing.
Many owners pick a location by going with their gut. But trust us on this one: you’ll want to go with your brain instead.
It’s important to think like a customer. Is your location close enough to the center of town? Do you have enough parking for everyone?
Be brutally honest about what the location will mean for your customer’s experiences. If things are annoying or inconvenient, they will quickly move on to a more convenient rival business!
Focus on Retention
Know the phrase “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush?” That phrase applies to employees as well!
It’s great to think about strategies for hiring new employees. But it’s actually much more important to hold onto the employees that you already have. They are going to be your most knowledgeable and most efficient workers.
Try to pay attention to how long the average worker works in a position before quitting (management software can help with this). It may be possible to provide reorientation, training, or incentives to retain these workers for longer periods of time.
For the most part, your customer’s experience is determined by your employees. It’s worth it to hold onto the best ones for as long as you can!
Successful Franchises: The Bottom Line
Now you know the secrets of the most successful franchises. But do you know where to get more of the info you need?
At Business Blog Hub, we bring you the advice you need to make your company shine. To discover your next moves, check out our management tips today!
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