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Process Improvement, Process Management, Workshops and Events

Process Improvement in Charities

Here’s a copy of my brief presentation on Process Improvement for senior managers in the voluntary sector : People + Process = Performance

Processes probably aren’t the most exciting thing on a charity senior manager’s agenda, but the combination of “people” plus “process” are the ultimate determinant of performance.  You can take great people, highly motivated, highly skilled, but put them in a lousy process and the process will win every time.

Typically, there are two starting points for organisations that recognise the need to improve their processes:

  • You need to be able to demonstrate a consistent, professional approach to managing the organisation: This is “Process Management”
  • You need to fix some problems, or achieve a step-change in performance: This is “Process Improvement”

Whatever your starting point, you need to do it in teams.  The people operating today’s processes are usually the best ones to work on improving them to make the organisation fit for tomorrow. Teams, in workshops can use their creativity to solve process issues such as bottlenecks, causes of rework and delays.

As with organisations in the private and public sectors, any effective process approach in the voluntary sector will require a top-down view of the organisation’s key processes.  These will comprise the management/governance processes and support processes as well as the key, externally-facing processes.  It is these latter processes that you have to excel at in order to raise funds and support your beneficiaries.

As with any approach to performance improvement, you have to decide where you need to improve.  Process must follow strategy.  You need to decide if your process focus needs to address one or more of the following:

  • Efficiency – driving out cost and waste
  • Effectiveness – achieving better outcomes for your beneficiaries
  • Capability – improving people and systems
  • Flexibility – becoming more agile, responsive and faster at addressing beneficiary needs

My Top Tips to get you started are as follows:

  • Pick something important, but do-able
  • Decide whether it needs to be standardised first, or improved first
  • Do it with a team, supported by a senior Sponsor
  • Set a short deadline to come up with improvement ideas (4-6 weeks)
  • Process Mapping IS NOT Process Improvement
  • Understand today’s processes before you even think about adopting new technology
  • Measure and communicate the improvements

Download the full article: Process+People = Charity Performance

Read more on Process Improvement.

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