Leading operations and business transformation are comparable to designing a gourmet meal: chefs need the right ingredients and methods to create a winning recipe that leave people coming back for more.
The same goes for managers leading a team through new operational changes, whether it’s a new sales process, marketing training, or a company merger. While tools are an important ingredient for building empowered teams, it’s easy to skip to the chase of selecting a new vendor without first considering two other--and arguably more important--ingredients: people and process.
In today’s competitive marketplace, companies who want to emerge from the pack will require dedication to people and process, not just new tools for transformation.
“Above all,” said Holly Muscolino, vice president of document solutions at IDC, “be sure to look beyond simply converting paper-based processes to digital equivalents. Replacing technology without changing processes or being able to do new things is not transformational.”
The latest and greatest technology, be it robotic business process management or algorithmic decision making, isn’t going to be the solution to all your problems. In fact, it might just be adding fuel to fire if you have with a team that isn’t ready.
Change Always Starts with People
Without a company culture focused on people, employees struggle to find value in their work and feel less empowered to solve thorny problems, ultimately leading to a variety of negative consequences for an organization.
But changing company culture is hardly an overnight process, and it requires the willing participation the people involved in order to establish new norms and carry them forward.
So what can companies do to change these established norms? Here are some tips for getting started:
- Build trust. Admit openly when making mistake and move on. It shows you’re human and approachable. The demonstration of courage and vulnerability further builds trust.
- Communicate the mission. Consistently articulating your mission and most important goals broadly across the organization provides transparency on where the company intends to head and how team members’ work contributes to these shared goals.
- Give a voice to your team and encourage open feedback. You can’t improve when you don’t know what needs improving; creating a productive environment that welcomes open feedback is a great way to nurture positive company culture.
People-First Processes For Better Collaboration
Process is critical to success, but it’s often seen as a technical process independent from the people who follow or are impacted by it. In truth, all processes are people-oriented. Processes are simply formalized steps that outline how people collaborate with each other or their environment at various times.
Simply put, many process challenges are really collaboration challenges. It’s when people don’t have a clear understanding of how to collaborate with one another that teams see most process issues emerge.
To tackle these issues at Kintone, our team uses a few communication-oriented processes to improve collaboration:
- Problem-solving method: this process creates a common language among our stakeholders to ensure consistency, greater objectivity, an easier decision making process that leads to a justifiable solution created by all those involved in the process. It gives everyone on our team a voice with the ability to impact future operational decisions.
- Kintone-first collaboration: we use our own teamwork platform to share updates and collaborate on projects. By using Kintone first over emails or spreadsheets, we have one consistent and centralized platform to manage our data in apps, update tasks in workflows and keep our team informed in organized spaces.
- Smarketing meetings: success in our organization is dependent on our sales and marketing teams working closely in person and online using Kintone. We have bi-weekly smarketing meetings to clarify roles and responsibilities for new campaigns, events and content, all of which are logged on shared calendars and meeting minutes in Kintone. We’re also able to stay on the same page in between meetings with dedicated threads and shared apps, like our CRM, content request and campaign manager.
Having an agile process with cross-team collaboration encourages people from different departments to team up and share their knowledge and assets, which leads to processes that can be scaled up. This is especially useful to us as our team has doubled over the last year! While Kintone is a helpful technology collaboration tool to ensure nothing falls through the cracks, establishing a people and process culture first has put us in a better position to grow and adapt our business.
With a strong company culture and collaborative process baked into your organization, your team can better understand what can be improved and automated through the use of technology for uncharted productivity. Use this recipe at your organization and impact will follow in your transformation initiatives.
About the Author
Nicole is Director of Marketing at Kintone, with 10+ years experience in content strategy, campaign management, lead acquisition and building positive work cultures of empowered, purpose-driven team members. She spent seven years as a journalist, previously serving as a CBS San Francisco digital producer, NPR contributor, Patagon Journal deputy editor and reporter for several publications, including the Chicago Tribune. She's passionate about the tech for good space, social entrepreneurship and women leadership. On the weekends, you’ll likely find her putting her Master Gardener skills to use in at community gardens in Oakland.