Creating an aligned strategic plan for your business operations is one side of things, but taking action in a way that produces consistent improvement and results is another side.
In business, we strive to have efficient operations, a streamlined path to increase income, a cohesive team of all-star players, a knock-out systems suite, and all the automations and processes we were told to have set up just like the “guru’s” told us to.
But before you can take the steps to get to that ideal organizational environment for your business, you have to shift your focus to observing how your business is operating now so that you can make the specific shifts and adjustments to get to your ideal business environment.
Introducing the use of lean observation into your operations audits will give you a macro view at how your operations are working for you now and points you in the direction of the micro pathways and targets of where you can start taking action to produce the business environment of your dreams. In order to get there, you have to first understand what it means to operate with lean observation in mind.
The concept of introducing a “lean” approach to your business operations and development means you’re implementing strategic routines that closely evaluates performance and progress through specific processes and ways of thinking. Lean is an approach to cutting out the wasted time, energy, space, efforts, money, and more that is padded into your business so that you can achieve the maximum efficiency you are looking for.
When taking a step back and evaluating your business from a lean perspective, you will be able to finally see the areas that are connected to your bottom line along with the areas that aren’t. Which leads to you being able to remove those areas from your business so that you can streamline your business and introduce space for new initiatives that are in alignment with your bottom line.
In order to start taking those steps in improving your operations and aligning your business strategically to your bottom line, you need to observe your business from the lens of lean observation. This step is critical to see the improvement and positive shifts being made for your business. Through stepping back to see the bigger picture with a fresh perspective, you’ll finally start to understand your current processes and how they are intertwined together. This will help you determine what is your perception versus the reality of things and will tell you more of an accurate story of what is actually happening behind the scenes. Once you finally are able to put eyes on the problem, you will be able to determine the best course of action to get to your ideal state of alignment.
While observing can lead you toward the rapid ramp of improvement, there are barriers that could stand in the way of effectively observing your business. These barriers stem from the negative perspective of taking the time to make those strategic decisions and generally send you towards making a snap decision that isn’t in the best interest for your business. From personal bias to miscommunication and multitasking intervention, if you or your team aren’t interested in taking the time to walk through the steps of observing your processes, systems, and workflows, then you will ultimately end back up in the repetitive cycle of noticing that your foundation isn’t working for you and causing you more problems in the long run. Taking the time to be involved and engaged in the process will get you closer to your bigger picture.
The task of lean observation shouldn’t be something that is a one-and-done or quick task that you do once a year. The more you incorporate this type of auditing into your business, the more lean your business will become and the more you will see the improvement you are looking for so that you can achieve your business goals quicker. Documentation during the observation phase is more than taking notes of what’s happening. It’s determining the obvious that is happening, developing an understanding of what problems exist, where the inconsistencies are, what’s working and what isn’t, and more importantly, looking at the positive and areas of opportunity. While this step is more about looking into the errors or barriers, it produces more positives by allowing you to take action immediately.
Effective lean observation takes you from patch-work operations to processes that are connected directly to your bottom line in little to no time. You’re able to finally validate your processes, get the quick results you are looking for, and are now in the habit of total team involvement which produces an environment that only gets stronger each time you practice sharping your observational skills. Taking the first hand knowledge from your team and strategic insights from your leadership and marrying the two with lean observation will introduce more opportunities for growing your business quicker and in a way that is more aligned with your bottom line and isn’t just something some “guru” told you to slap together because it worked for them.
Lean initiatives and process improvement is custom to you and your business. These approaches to observing your business are built for you, by you and allows you to strengthen your knowledge, your team involvement and your processes along the way. Don’t get in the habit of slapping a bandaid on something or throwing out a way you do things without taking the time to effectively observe your business. Because that thing could be what holds you back from the next level you’ve been searching for.
For more business tips to align your business bottom line, check out this article by Marissa Pane.
Brooke is a COO & Integrator and her mission is to help others optimize & restore their business operations foundation without wasting time and money. She focuses her approach to any project or task using lean fundamentals with the overall goal of keeping things streamlined from the ground up. She serves women entrepreneurs & mompreneurs, agencies, coaches, course creators & consultants by creating the swoon-worthy, efficient systems of their dreams and managing their internal & external operations so that they can get back to doing what they love in their zone of genius.
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