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Designing the Business Process Model to Implement Strategy

This is part 2 of a 5 part blog series on defining an operating model for your organization.    

In this post, we explore Step 2: Establishing the Business Process Model

A number of industries are currently facing disruption and change. In addition, the daily grind of running the business can knock us around a bit and we can lose track of the strategic direction.   For an operating model to be effective, there must be a clear strategy. For a refresher, check out my first blog on step 1, Capturing Key Insights to Define Strategic Priorities.

Once the strategy has been set, leaders must effectively mobilize their teams and work among their peers to put plans in place. So whether you are in the C-Suite or a functional leader in a large enterprise, you can build and implement an operating model for the company or your team.

One of the tools that we leverage to design the operating model and to stay on track is a business process model.

What is a business process model?

  • It’s a structured set of processes, sub-processes, and activities that are grouped together to provide value and specific outcomes
  • The major components of a process model include: Inputs, Outputs, Actors/Owners, Activities, Systems/Tools, and KPIs/Metrics
  • Like onions and ogres, process models come in layers. The processes roll-up into each other and can be mapped to the vision and aligned with the strategic priorities

Process Model Considerations & Tips:

Scope Matters: 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when creating a process model and determining the right structure.

  • Start by listing the processes and subprocesses that produce outputs that your team is accountable
  • Iterate on the process list and groupings will appear and the model will take shape
  • Use the strategic priorities to shape what processes should be in or out of scope
  • Focus on the processes that have the biggest impact and provide the most value to the organization
  • Evaluate the processes that are not adding value or contributing to outcomes and begin eliminating them

Clear Boundaries

Right now, there are hundreds of organizations evaluating roles and responsibilities and leaders are trying to understand how their team fits into the organization. As an organization grows, there can be gray areas of responsibility.

  • Once again, it starts with alignment on the strategic priorities
  • Be clear on process ownership and accountability vs. contribution (more to come when we explore the organizational structure)
  • Identify the critical inputs, outputs, and dependencies to the process and understand their importance to the effectiveness of the process
  • Map the demarcation points across multiple processes
  • Understand the dependencies across the processes

Engagement

Can your employees see how they fit into the process model and make a connection with their responsibilities and the execution of the strategy?

  • Reinforce the strategic priorities frequently to keep what matters most top of mind
  • Make connections between the big picture and the day-to-day
  • Celebrate the wins when executing the process moves the needle on achieving strategic objectives (we’ll talk about this more when we dive deeper into performance measures)
  • Foster continuous improvement and capture feedback.  Process models are never complete, they are dynamic and constantly change.

Once the process model is defined, the next step is to ensure you have the right team to deliver it. We’ll explore that in the next blog on Step 3: Aligning the organizational structure.

To learn more about effectively defining an operating model for your organization, you can download our guide below or you can find it on our website here.

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