Rethink your process perspective


I honestly believe that the problem starts with our traditional 'inside-out' approach to thinking about our organizations. For all our well-meaning talk of being focused on the customer/patient/student/taxpayer, we then turn around and design our systems from within, pushing our product or service out to our stakeholders. We even codify this approach in a widely accepted business architecture model, SIPOC.

Supplier > Inputs > Processes > Outputs > Customer

What's wrong with this? It's backwards! Let me suggest a better way of visualizing this.

PartnerC > Outcomes > Processes > Inputs > PartnerS

Notice we are now talking in terms of Partners C=Customer, S=Supplier: this puts a whole different emphasis on he relationships.

Notice also that the flow is reversed: we have the customer demand creating a pull on the system rather than us pushing things through to them by 'creating' a demand. We are also talking in terms of 'outcomes' - the value derived by our customers - rather than physical outputs.

Try turning your organization on its head and design it from the outside in. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the gains you will make with your customers and the internal improvements that you can realize.