People Problem or Process Problem – Why Technology is not your quick fix
Our clients and prospective customers come to us wanting a solution to their business problem. They often believe that implementing an inventory management system is the quick fix their business needs to keep scaling and be successful.
Occasionally, this manifests itself in the client or prospective customer wanting to skip our first few steps to the Clearinity Process. They want to delve deep into integrating data into a technology system without delving deep into the business’s people or processes.
Time and time again, we inform our clients that we have created this system because, often, the real problems lie in their organization’s people and processes.
Their business problems will not be cured or “fixed” with new technology. A new system and a new technology is only a bandaid and could cause more problems than solutions later on.
Like a bandaid, if you keep ripping it off and seeing your injury still raw and unhealed, the next step would be to see a doctor and get a diagnostic to find the root cause of the unhealed injury.
Likewise, your business needs a diagnostic to find the root causes. That is what we do in Step 1 – Discovery. We start by looking at whether the issues are a people problem or a process problem? And how exactly can a new technology system help them?
Is it a people problem?
It is instinctual to look at your problems and blame the people causing them. Maybe you have chronically late employees and think that they are late because they are lazy or unorganized. Perhaps you continuously have customer satisfaction issues and think it’s just your employees being careless. Whatever the situation, it’s essential to ask yourself some questions to identify if it truly is a people problem.
- Are there reoccurring factors that are causing the issues?
Identifying reoccurring factors such as understaffing or situations that lead to repetitive mistakes can help business owners identify environment changes or process changes to create a better environment for the employee.
- Do you provide your staff with documentation of your processes they can easily access and use as a reference?
If documentation is in place, understandable, and available to the employee, and they are still asking questions, it may be a people problem.
- Have you adequately trained your staff?
If you have adequately trained your staff, they should be able to help those that are struggling with the current processes. Inadequate training leads to poor performance for everyone.
- Do you accept and hear feedback directly from your staff?
If you frequently hear feedback and do nothing with it, it is a leadership issue and not your staff.
Is it a process problem?
If you have answered any of the above questions with a yes, you may want to start looking at the processes you have to ensure it is truly a people problem. Many factors within a process can cause issues. These factors include no documentation, lack of training, or expectations around the misunderstood processes between staff and management. There are a few questions you can start asking yourself to explore whether or not you are experiencing a process problem.
- Are tasks falling between the cracks?
Tasks that continuously fall through the cracks tend to arise from process problems. Processes that are efficient and effective build upon an already natural workflow, and they are well documented. If your staff is well trained, intelligent, and empowered, and things are still getting overlooked, it’s time to look at your processes.
- Are things getting double touched?
Tasks that are being double touched by separate staff members make double the work and open opportunities for miscommunication or error. Tasks that are double touched often can mean that roles are not clearly defined, or the current processes are overlapping.
- Does it feel impossible to get the numbers you need?
Everyone is working hard, and yet you still can’t reach the numbers or KPI’s you are looking for or need. Maybe you don’t know where to draw the line between Activity A and Activity B. What if the current process is actually two or more processes? If so, how do you tally them up, and from where do you pull reports and data? Together, these can be indicators of process and technology issues.
Technology Can Help Or Hinder
We have many clients who want to jump right into implementation or want a quick “ fix” to their issues by implementing a new technology system. They often are not seeing the whole picture and are blind to other problems internally. Asking yourself if the issues you face are a people problem or process problem before jumping to conclusions will help save your business and money.
Technology can be beneficial to your business as a way to improve processes. We focus on identifying where it can help processes and workflows be more efficient in our Discovery Step. Likewise, technology can be a hindrance to a business that hasn’t identified its process problems. No matter where you are at in your business growth hopefully these questions will help you navigate your next steps to scaling!