Top 7 Steps to Build Stronger Communication
By Chris Anderson
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Did you know that you should always create a process map for every procedure or system of procedures that you develop? And did you know that, like a table of contents, this will create stronger communication and better understanding in your organization?
How do you do this?
- Use Process Map as Communication Tool.
A process map is a flow diagram of the primary processes within an organization. It very specifically shows you both who and what is involved in a process, as well as the requirements for that process to be effective. The primary goal is to use the map as a communication tool. It is to show the sequence of interactions of the elements involved in the process. And so process maps are drawn and used by organizations to achieve several benefits: increase process understanding; clarify process boundaries, ownership and effectiveness measures; identify process sequences; isolate core processes, bottlenecks and opportunities for improvement; and clarify the interaction of Customer, Supplier, Management and Operations processes; provide a tool for training and discussion.
- Use Process Map to show big picture.
In other words, a process map details what happens first, second and third in a process. It shows what happens in each step along the way. And this is drawn in graphical form for easier communication and understanding.
This type of map shows the “big picture” of 10-20 core processes within an organization. The map also shows the critical elements within each section and its importance within the whole system. And these sections, or bands, are what relate the processes to each other AND to the outside suppliers and customers.
- Link Suppliers and Customers.
Although there are several ways to draw a process map, the basic diagram is typically constructed in four bands. And these four bands link together Customers, Primary Processes, Secondary Processes and Suppliers.
You improve effectiveness by showing the specifics of a process. And sometimes we’ve learned the hard way that the development phase of a project or a process is far more expensive than the planning phase. And so by thinking through and perfecting your processes beforehand, you decrease waste in development time. With a detailed process map, you identify and decrease such waste wherever it occurs in the process.
- Keep Key Points of Process Mapping in Mind.
Here are a few key points to keep in mind while process mapping: identify core processes to support mission and goals; determine how to create value for the customer throughout the process; map ownership and performance metrics along with the process; and engage your people in process mapping to define problems and solutions
- Define Steps of the Process.
With a refined procedure map, you can see the steps that go into an organization’s competency process, including the suppliers and customers for each of those steps. This is also called the SIPOC method. This method identifies the Suppliers of the specific data used as an Input for the Process to create Outputs for the Customer. The map also gives you both effectiveness and performance criteria for this process’ owner(s). With such measurement criteria, you set the mark for continuous improvement of the process.
- Use Procedure Map as Training Tool.
And so by creating a procedure map, you will further increase communication and understanding within your organization. Procedure maps become a strong tool in training, either to familiarize new employees to their jobs or to increase efficiency and performance with current employees.
- Communicate, Understand and Apply Knowledge.
Both process and procedure maps are crucial in an organization. And so as a rule of thumb, never develop a procedure or system of procedures without first creating a process and procedure map. Acting like a table of contents, a process map helps organize the chapters of a complex book in a way that this knowledge can easily be communicated, understood and applied.
Chris Anderson is the managing director of Bizmanualz, Inc. and co-author of policies and procedures manuals, producing the layout, process design and implementation to increase performance.
To learn how to increase your business performance, visit: http://www.bizmanualz.com?src=ART85
Article Submitted On: February 18, 2005