If the Process Doesn’t Make Things Easier, Break It

Written by: Tony Sadowski

Processes are important to the smooth and timely completion of tasks. They’re meant to streamline things, to take the thought out of the predictable and automatic parts of Getting Things Done, so that we maximize efficiency and minimize wasting valuable time and energy. Processes are used to align teams and coordinate efforts.

All good things, right?

At a busy agency with many clients to serve, Slice has lots of processes in place.

But what happens when a process is actually making things harder? When a process becomes so ingrained in the culture that the slow drip of damage it’s been doing over time goes unnoticed, until a much larger problem has been revealed?

Two words: BREAK IT!

Don’t be handcuffed by tradition. Don’t get caught in a trap of your own making. You can refine or even outright replace a process – and, though it may be stressful in the short term, you can ensure buy-in by involving the entire team in the conversation and using their feedback to make improvements along the way.

No one has time to stop everything and completely rebuild internal systems; change must be a gradual, iterative, and cooperative effort.

After all, if a massive change is foisted on you without any warning and without your input, do you feel good? Probably not. Even if it makes things easier, you’ll likely still feel forced to accept something you don’t fully understand or believe in.

Bosses tell and impose. Leaders ask and empower.

We’ve been retooling some major internal processes over the past few months at Slice, to address internal communication challenges, break down silos, free up team members to focus on their highest value activities, and improve service for our clients.

The changes were based on Slice Squad feedback, and a lot of thought and care went into them. Still, as much as we pride ourselves on transparency and open communication, it’s true that some people didn’t fully “get” what we were trying to do.

Trust goes two ways. You have to build it together.

We don’t always get it right. But what I love about this company is that we DO listen and we DO work hard to improve every day. No one has all the answers, and the perfect solution doesn’t exist. But we’re much better off when the whole team is united and moving in the same direction.

Good communication, empathy, and clarity are the keys to trust. Involving the team in the conversation earlier in the process is a must!

Didn’t mean for that to rhyme, but I’m really glad it did.

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