New companies, new departments, and new roles often don’t come with processes. This can work well enough for a temporary and limited amount of time, but eventually it stifles productivity, growth, and effectiveness. All roles, all business areas, and all organizations can benefit from implementing, documenting, and continuously improving processes.
Without working according to processes, you end up working according to exceptions. You essentially redesign the process every time you do it: you reinvent the wheel, you exert cognitive energy and critical thinking skills every single time, and you become an irreplaceable bottleneck. This is energy-consuming for you, ineffective for your organization, and expensive for your customers.
Processes, on the other hand, take some time to set up, but they create momentum of productivity. Each time you follow the process, it gets easier and more automatic. Processes also allow you to scale your skillset and capability. Processes make delegating work easier, especially when processes are documented, and also helps with onboarding new employees and developing skillsets. When you can point to a documented process, you free up your time to attend to things that truly do require critical thinking and urgent action.
Thinking about work in terms of a process allows you to take a proactive approach. Instead of making decisions reactively, you can design a process to be what you want it to be. You have more control over timing and outcomes and make better decisions as a result.
Processes make performance management easier as well. When something goes wrong, you can more easily determine what exactly went wrong. When errors are made or the quality is sub-par, you can have a conversation about what is broken in the process without putting blame on a person. When defensiveness is off the table, it is truly remarkable what can be accomplished and improved.
When you have ten different employees doing similar work in ten different ways, how do you go about improving work quality or efficiency? Often you end up spinning your wheels. Even if improvements are made, how do you sustain them? Without standardized, documented processes, you unfairly over-rely on people. And people have bad days, people get tired, people leave their jobs, people fail to communicate effectively 100% of the time, and people make mistakes.
On the other hand, when a common documented process exists, you can improve quality and efficiency quickly with a small tweak or two. You also have the ability to outsource, automate, delegate, and train newcomers very easily. Anything that is done more than once or by more than one person is worthy of a consistent, documented process.