How NOT to Implement a New Business Process


    So you’ve decided to implement a new process. Maybe you’ve purchased workflow software or document management software, or maybe you’re working on some other process improvement strategy. Whatever you’re doing, we’re excited for you!

    Here are some things NOT to do when you’re beginning to roll out your new process:


    Leave the management team out of it. It won’t affect them.

    Face it, you’ll need the management team’s buy in if you’re going to get much accomplished. And we’re not just talking about one member of the management team. You’re going to need them all. Even if those managers don’t touch the day-to-day processes that are being affected, they lead the teams that will be directly interacting with your new business process. You’re going to need their buy in.


    Fly by the seat of your pants. Planning is for parties, not for work.

    As you’re launching this new process, imagine that you are the conductor of an orchestra. You’ve got a staff of musicians, and you’ve provided them with shiny new instruments. Now you’ve got to tell them when and how to play! Otherwise, imagine the cacophony! You want to make beautiful music, and some of them even want to help you, but they can’t unless you tell them what you need.


    Don’t bother recruiting champions for your new process.

    Have you ever heard the phrase “low-hanging fruit”? If someone is low-hanging fruit, that means he or she is easy pickings, right? That might sound like a negative attribute at first. But start imagining the positive potential of someone who is easily excited by new ideas. “Hey, Roger, I’ve got a great idea for a new process! You’re gonna love it!” Once Roger is on board, he tells his cubicle neighbor about the awesome new workflow software that’s being implemented, and suddenly you’ve got champions for your cause! They’re excited, and they’re going to get other people excited. If you hadn’t taken the time to recruit Roger and your other champions, you’d be hearing a lot more grumbling and complaining.


    Instead of training the team, let them figure it out on their own.

    You’ve got to tell your team exactly how to use the new process. Otherwise, they can be looking at the best document management software on the planet, not knowing how to even log in, and thinking, “This software is the WORST!” Suddenly your process improvement idea backfires, things are worse than they were before, and you’re being pelted with paperclips every time you walk by the accounting department. You don’t want that to happen. Trust us.


    Keep the data you’ve collected a secret. It will only bore people.

    We’re sure that you did your due diligence before deciding on a process improvement strategy. You needed proof that it would work. You needed to see the ROI for yourself. That’s completely understandable. But when it comes time to share that information with the team, you hesitate, wondering how deep into your decision you should really get. You wonder if they’ll be interested in the five competitors you examined before selecting what you think is the primo choice for document management software. Will they want to see your Excel spreadsheet comparing all of the capabilities of each platform? Probably not. But your team will want to see that you can support your choice. Even if you just summarize the information you found into a simple line graph or an estimated annual savings, show them something. That way, they’ll know that all the growing pains are worth it.


    Don’t worry about spending extra time on resistant employees.

    If you’re making a big change, like incorporating new workflow software, you are bound to have a few stragglers—people who can’t see the benefit of changing a process that they’ve been doing just fine for years or even decades. Or maybe they’re reluctant to try the new process because the technology feels overwhelming. Through training and support, these late adopters can become some of your strongest advocates. Imagine how powerful it would be for Cara, a once-hesitant team member, to tell the rest of the team that, even though she usually shies away from change, now that she’s using the new process, she doesn’t know how she ever got along without it. That would be amazing, right? It happens!


    Refrain from celebrating. It was long overdue anyway.

    Once your new improved process is up and running, take time to celebrate. But make sure you do it right. The purpose is not to pat yourself on the back for making it happen. The purpose is to thank your team for learning something new and for being willing to adapt and improve. After all, you couldn’t have done it without them. Show the team your earnest appreciation by buying them lunch and saying a few words about the benefits the company is seeing already. They deserve it!


    That about sums it up, folks. We wish you the best of luck in setting up your new process. As always, we are here to support our customers should any of you need our assistance.

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