I just read that “getting organized” was the #1 New Year’s resolution for most of us. I agree – I could use more organization in my world. The first step those professional organizers tell you about is purging what you have. “Be brutal,” they say. If you don’t need it, get rid of it!
In a recent spat of organizing frenzy, I went through 3 file boxes from ghosts of business past. I found things that led me down that meandering emotional path we call memory lane. I re-discovered reports, articles and even performance reviews that made me feel both proud and wistful about some ignorance I’ve since outgrown. But I had committed – I was going to be brutal.
So I stacked and stacked and stacked empty file folders and recycled and shredded anything I truly didn’t need. It was in this mindset that I was asked to review some customer processes for a client. I attacked these processes with the mantra: Be Brutal. I was reminded, yet again:
Processes are often created for processes-sake.
Don’t fool yourself. Adding more steps, layers of bureaucracy or excessive approval delays action, limits people and makes your experience suck.
Why? Because customers want some basic things. We want interactions with your company to be nice and easy. We want to feel like you give a damn. When you force your front-line employees to say things like, “I need to get approval to help you,” or “That’s not my role,” you’re creating a bad experience. When your online experience has error messages that stop a user cold with no help options, you’re creating a bad experience. Period.
Unfortunately, most of us are too close to the process when we create it. We consider things like, “how will this impact department A’s quotas?” and “the control-freak boss will need to approve any change.” So our customers are sent through annoying labyrinths we call processes.
The best companies look at the other side as often as they can. The very best ones use a totally outside perspective. (Yes, by hiring me or others – but you can also ask random strangers.)
Take a look at your processes. Be brutal. Cut out any unnecessary steps, approval layers or organizational BS.
How do you plan to purge?
Photo Credits: Pete Hindle & Viêt Hoà DINH