Here are 3 things that I’ve introduced since joining Border Crossing Media. You’d most likely see them in a large organisation but they’ve certainly helped us grow as a company:
1. Process Maps
A process map defines the time, cost and who is responsible for each step of a process or task. It allows you to see a project, process or task, on a granular level and work out the most efficient, cost effective method of completing it.
You do have to invest time to map out each individual task or process, I had to sit with my partner for a day and draw out each process for each of our service areas, but the benefits of having a good set of process maps mean that you get numerous benefits.
The best thing we have found is to map them out initially and then test them over time and improve them. Your maps are a working document, not the fixed solution, that you can adapt over time as your business changes and grows.
The benefits of investing in process maps are:
- Consistency: By having a clearly defined process map for people to follow they will be able to deliver the same quality of result every time, independent of who undertakes the task.
- Efficiency: Mapping out each step you undertake for a process means that you can assess whether you are taking extra, unnecessary steps that are not adding value to the outcome.
- Understanding: If your standard processes are mapped then anyone can quickly review them and understand how and why your business works. It helps with training new staff as they can understand your method from start to finish without necessarily undergoing them and they are great for Clients who are querying why tasks take the length of time or cost of a process.
- Faster, accurate quotes: We quickly assess the length of time a project will take and therefore cost it quickly by taking our standard process map, adding any additional elements that are required and any external costs that will be occurred. It takes us a lot less time to quote for Clients and it gives us an accurate, realistic quote.
2. Action Plans
It is very easy not to be able to see the woods from the trees sometimes and so even though you may have your finger on the pulse of the business do you take the time out to review where you are in terms of your goals, objectives and performance.
When I joined Border Crossing Media there were clear objectives that we wanted to achieve. Most of the time we knew how we going to do it and went about getting them done.
We wanted to be able to measure our companies performance, and therefore our success, and make sure that the actions and decisions that we took would be of value to us. So we took some time out at the end of Q1 to review our company objectives. I asked everyone to come up with at least 5 objectives for 2010 and we all got together and compiled a list of objectives that we agreed as a team we wanted to achieve. We then split them into high and low level objectives and built them into an action plan. We give each action a RAG (Red = Not on schedule, Amber = On schedule, Green = On target) Status to show where we are with each one.
We now update each other weekly as to the progress on the actions that we have assigned to ourselves which means that we are all kept in the loop and there is more accountability within the company. I am also happy to report that to date there are no red actions on the plan!
3. Board Reports
I produce a lengthy report on a quarterly basis that covers:
1. Company Objectives and progress
5. Project Progress
6. Client Update
8. Any Other Business (AOB)
It is amazing how you can know how your company is performing but when you put it in black and white it gives you focus. Plus it is a great document to have to hand if you need any financing or other external support and makes a good addition to your business plan.
So those are three things that I have implemented at Border Crossing Media that have made a tangible difference to both the Company’s bottom-line but also to how we all work together. Why don’t you give some a try if you are not already. They may not work for your particular organisation but if you don’t give things a go how will you know if they could have helped?
Good luck and let me know what works and what doesn’t work for you.