Recently I was working with a client who has reached that point where they need to improve their processes if the business is to grow. The only problem is which process is it that needs to be improved? As the business has developed over time the approach to delivering software has evolved too. And with it the processes.
Today the company is very successful and, rare for these times, has a full order book of lucrative projects off into the foreseeable future. They are profitable without needing to be parsimonious and the single digit percentage revenue growth suits the business owners. Customers are happy, prospects are falling over themselves to work with the client, competitors are strong but working on lower end opportunities, employees are motivated, skillful and fully occupied … so all is well.
So this is an odd state of affairs in today’s business climate. Why would they choose now to do process review. The answer is simple: times are good, let’s make change now when confidence is high and everyone feels secure … rather than wait until times are tough and people are frightened.
There’s an old adage: “a rising tide floats all boats” to which Warren Buffett added “and when the tide goes out you can see who is swimming naked.”
This client knows that their own tide is rising but they also know it could turn at anytime and they do not want to be on the sandy shore doing breast stroke in their birthday suit.
So now is the perfect time to look at their process and organize the team. Move the tribal knowledge, experience and methods from the minds of the team members into an automated process and ensure they are operating optimally. The goal is to free up the managers to manage the business and find the growth that will sustain them and to empower the team members to take on more responsibility in the certain knowledge that the job will be done in the right.
This is a perfect example of what it means to “manage change.” These astute business owners realized that soon enough the pendulum will swing the other way. Why not grab ahold and drive its speed and direction. Thanks so much for your insightful post.
Donna Cangelosi Crossman, Ph.D.