Businesses that tend to only focus on the low-hanging fruit of challenges may never quite reach their full potential. Unfortunately, those opting for the ostrich solution, burying their proverbial head in the sand, are leaving themselves at serious risk in a competitive and ever-evolving world.
Let us assume that you are aiming for the former and want to instill a culture of continuous improvement into your workplace. Firstly, there is no one-sizefits- all for every organization, and even the best workplace cultures can develop into something very different over time.
However, the non-negotiable ingredient to a successful culture of process improvement is how you encourage, embrace and act upon internal and external feedback. Hotels and restaurants have always had some sort of method of asking for feedback. This can vary in effectiveness from a simple: “Is everything OK?” to a detailed professional assessment from an experienced mystery guest. Whatever method you use, make sure that you respond to all feedback and file it so that it can be easily accessed when needed. Identifying and defining a problem sounds easier than it sometimes is, but it is essential to ensure that any improvement project is focused on a specific goal. Call on stakeholders to gain support and gather your feedback to build a business case to ensure that this problem is the right one to tackle now.
There are numerous analysis and improvement techniques to choose from and, again, which ones you choose, how you implement them into your team and which problem you are trying to solve can vary.
Here is a list of some of the most common process management tools used today.
Most of us have been involved in one of these classic sessions. It is often used in conjunction with one of the following techniques to give structure and purpose, and it is a great way to bring key stakeholders together.
The five whys Anyone with small children may balk at the idea of encouraging this but asking “why?” five times can help you find the root cause of problems.
A very common tool often used in business plans is SWOT analysis. By highlighting the strengths (internal), weaknesses (internal), opportunities (external) and threats (external), you can improve the process and mitigate risks.
Six thinking hats
Emotion can hinder thinking, so the six thinking hats concept allows contributors to take on the roles of conductor, creative, emotion, optimist, critic and logic without having to explain, defend or sugarcoat their thinking.
This process identifies keys players (customers, actors, transformation process, world view, owner and environmental) and allows the assessment of the impact of the process change on them.
This is a great tool to map out the aims of a business through its mission, objectives, strategies and tactics. PESTLE analysis By focusing on external factors, such as political, economic, sociological, technological, legal and environmental, a business can assess how its plans might be affected.
This technique casts light on must or should, could or would to help prioritize actions. Once you have found ways to improve processes and implement your solutions, it is crucial that you continue to monitor and measure the effectiveness of your actions, thus ensuring that processes don’t revert to a familiar state. While perfection is unattainable due to the ever-shifting goalposts of the hospitality industry, a culture of continuous improvement can help you reach your peak, helping you remain ahead of the competition.
co-founder of Halo Business Consulting