I’m often asked how do you go about improving the performance of processes in an organisation? And there’s a really simple simple answer to that question. We go and look at work. That is the most valuable way to spend your time.

If you want to improve processes in any organisation the best thing you can do is sit with the people that do those processes and watch them work. Ask questions if you have to but find out what it is they do and don’t just watch it once, watch them do it over and over again and so you can see all the different things they do and how they do them. And sit with more than one person. We do this for contact centres we would listen to hundreds of calls from different handlers to understand why people are calling in. To understand how those agents handle those calls.

When we worked with utilities companies we went out and watch them fix leaks. We went out with the crews, the work crews and figured out how they did their job. We sat with people in the control rooms to decide where those sorts of crews go.

When we’re out in sale environment we go out and join the sale staff as well if they’re on the field and sit in the conversations they have with customers.

When we work with a bank and look at mortgages we sit and observe mortgage applications being processed with the customer to understand how it is actually being worked and this is where the insight comes from.

You need to spend time with the people that actually do the processes and it will tell you a massive amount about how the work is managed. How the work works. And when you speak to these people there’s also a thousand of knowledge about what doesn’t work and what drives them up the wall and what sort of problems they face. And when you spend time listening and observing customer interactions over and over again you start to see what all the failure is.

If I was gonna give any advice to a leader who wants to improve the way their business works it would be this – go and spend time with your front line staff. Not with your Senior Managers you spent enough time with them already. Go and spend time with your front line staff be connected to the work that you lead. Understand what it is that they do and how they do it and you’ll find a huge amount of opportunities to improve a process.