Focus

The Process approach
A way of viewing the company and your role in it as a whole
Chapter 10 p.3
I’ve heard people refer to the “Process Approach”, but I don’t understand what it is all about and how I can benefit from it.
The Process Approach is about a way of viewing the company and your career as a whole. Explore the diagram below. Remember that you are looking at a simple and logical framework for all business activities and initiatives. The approach applies to all activities (from selling, ordering, admin, etc.) and can be uniformly applied.
When processes are in place, people know what to do, when and for whom, eliminating the need for process loss and uncertainty.
It also eliminates fragmentation of departments/teams and reduces the possibility of empire-building. People can take charge of their jobs, freeing up their manager’s time to enable him to concentrate on the improvement of business processes.
Central to the process approach are five simple rules that introduce order into chaos:
State the objective of the process – what must be achieved?
State the reason – why must the objective be achieved?
Formulate how the process is to achieve this objective (the process requirements) What must be done in what way to achieve the objective? Focus specifically on what the desired output and required input is.
Design the primary process to handle the requirements – what must be done
by whom, by when, for whom, and with what?
Define the process control mechanism – what mechanism(s) will be used as an indicator(s) of how well the process is working?

A way of viewing the company and your role in it as a whole

Chapter 10 p.3

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I Ask

I’ve heard people refer to the “Process Approach”, but I don’t understand what it is all about and how I can benefit from it.

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I Answer

The Process Approach is about a way of viewing the company and your career as a whole. Explore the diagram below. Remember that you are looking at a simple and logical framework for all business activities and initiatives. The approach applies to all activities (from selling, ordering, admin, etc.) and can be uniformly applied.

When processes are in place, people know what to do, when and for whom, eliminating the need for process loss and uncertainty.

It also eliminates fragmentation of departments/teams and reduces the possibility of empire-building. People can take charge of their jobs, freeing up their manager’s time to enable him to concentrate on the improvement of business processes.

w&t_ch10_d_the_process_approach

Five simple rules that introduce order to chaos:

  1. State the objective of the process – what must be achieved?
  2. State the reason – why must the objective be achieved?
  3. Formulate how the process is to achieve this objective (the process requirements). What must be done in what way to achieve the objective? Focus specifically on what the desired output and required input is.
  4. Design the primary process to handle the requirements – what must be done, by whom, by when, for whom, and with what?
  5. Define the process control mechanism – what mechanism(s) will be used as an indicator(s) of how well the process is working?

Common problems with a team & business meeting

Chapter 5 p.8

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Also see: How to manage a meeting

OK, I admit my last team meeting was chaotic. But what could I do? Some people kept on asking what’s the point of the meeting, others engaged in side conversations… Can you tell me what went wrong?

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Common problems in work-related meetings usually centre around either poor preparation for the meeting or lack of control during meetings.

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But how will I know what to focus on?

Poor preparation is often reflected in one or more of the following:

  • No agenda.
  • No/unclear objectives stated for the meeting.
  • Purpose not defined.
  • Too many items on the agenda.
  • Agenda items not prioritized.
  • One agenda item monopolizes the meeting.
  • Invitations that are vague or misleading.
  • Chairperson unprepared.
  • No prior research about issues.
  • Too many participants invited.
  • Participants not interested in being there.
  • Participants unprepared and not able to contribute.
  • Key players not present.
  • Decision makers not present.
  • Equipment not working.

Lack of control often results in:

  • No leader/facilitator – meeting dominated by “an expert” or whoever speaks the most and/or loudest.
  • Meeting lacks focus – irrelevant points are introduced.
  • People not showing up, coming late or leaving early.
  • Uninvited attendees.
  • Inattentive participants.
  • Hidden agendas.
  • Lack of questions.
  • Side conversations.
  • Interruptions.
  • Repetition.
  • Lack of value-adding comments.
  • No growth on issues.

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While you’re at it, why not brush up on your facilitating skills…the Issue Resolution Model and the Decision Making Process would be a good start.

Active and Passive listening skills
Chapter 5
p.10
People often say that I’m not a good listener. The other day a team member said that I don’t hear what he is saying and that I should brush up on my “Active listening skills”. I don’t know what he meant.
Can you give me some guidelines?
Effective listening skills are of crucial importance in business, especially if you want to hear beyond what a customer is saying. It is important to understand the difference between “Passive Listening” and “Active Listening”, for both encompass a set of skills you need in order to be effective in your communication with colleagues and customers.
Passive listening techniques focus on keeping the communication flowing. It encourages the speaker to “open up”.
Passive listening:
Pay attention to the speaker.
Avoid judgmental or defensive responses.
Exert mild pressure on the speaker to keep on talking, explaining and elaborating.
Create the space the speaker needs to verbalize his real needs, opinion or doubts.
Acknowledgement:
Can simply be done by nodding the head and leaning forward, or through the use of expressions like:
“I see”
“Yes…”
“Hmm…”
“Really”, etc.
Avoid evaluative acknowledgments like:
“That’s good!”
“Excellent!”
“Your right.”,etc.
Door openers:
Door openers are responses from the listener that encourage the speaker to open up to talk about their needs, expectations, concerns, doubts and fears:
“Tell me more about that..”
“Help me to understand what you are saying regarding…”
“I’m interested to hear what you think of…”
“I’d like to hear what you feel about…”
“I’d like to hear what you are saying about…”
Listening is not about keeping quiet, it’s about getting involved in what the speaker is saying and facilitating additional communication.
And what about Active Listening?
Active Listening is about ensuring that the receiver in the communication decodes the message transmitted by the sender correctly. Active listening closes the loop in communication, providing feedback to the sender.
The active listener verbally shares impressions or understanding with the sender by paraphrasing back perceptions of the message.
The following phrases may be used when you want to check your understanding and you wish to create the opportunity for the sender to correct you if you have missed the point, or to elaborate further on the sender’s needs, expectations, doubts, etc.
When you are certain you understand what has been said:
“What I hear you saying is…”
“From your point of view…”
“I’m picking up that you…”
“As you see it…”
“What I really hear you saying, is that…”
“It seems to you…”
“You feel…”
When you are less certain that you understand, the following creates the opportunity for the sender to correct you:
“I think I hear you saying…”
“I wonder if I am correct when I say that…”
“It appears you..”
“I’m not sure I’m wrong with you but…”
“Correct me if I am wrong but…”
“Is it possible that…”
“Let me see if I understand you…”
I trust you understand what was meant by “Listening beyond what the customer is saying”.
Acting upon this information is the true key to agility in business.

Active and Passive listening skills

Chapter 5 p.10

w&t_question

I Ask

People often say that I’m not a good listener. The other day a team member said that I don’t hear what he is saying and that I should brush up on my active listening skills. I don’t know what he meant.

Can you give me some guidelines?

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I Answer

Effective listening skills are of crucial importance in business, especially if you want to hear beyond what a customer is saying. It is important to understand the difference between Passive Listening and Active Listening, for both encompass a set of skills you need in order to be effective in your communication with colleagues and customers.

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I Explain

Passive listening techniques focus on keeping the communication flowing. It encourages the speaker to open up.

Passive listening

  • Pay attention to the speaker.
  • Avoid judgmental or defensive responses.
  • Exert mild pressure on the speaker to keep on talking, explaining and elaborating.
  • Create the space the speaker needs to verbalize his real needs, opinion or doubts.

Acknowledgement

Can simply be done by nodding the head and leaning forward, or through the use of expressions like:

  • “I see”
  • “Yes…”
  • “Hmm…”
  • “Really”, etc.

Avoid evaluative acknowledgments like:

  • “That’s good!”
  • “Excellent!”
  • “Your right.”, etc.

Door openers

Door openers are responses from the listener that encourage the speaker to open up to talk about their needs, expectations, concerns, doubts and fears:

  • “Tell me more about that..”
  • “Help me to understand what you are saying regarding…”
  • “I’m interested to hear what you think of…”
  • “I’d like to hear what you feel about…”
  • “I’d like to hear what you are saying about…”
w&t_elephant

I Advise

Listening is not about keeping quiet, it’s about getting involved in what the speaker is saying and facilitating additional communication.

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I Ask

And what about Active Listening?

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I Answer

Active Listening is about ensuring that the receiver in the communication decodes the message transmitted by the sender correctly. Active listening closes the loop in communication, providing feedback to the sender.

The active listener verbally shares impressions or understanding with the sender by paraphrasing back perceptions of the message.

w&t_ch5_o_productive-listening

The following phrases may be used when you want to check your understanding and you wish to create the opportunity for the sender to correct you if you have missed the point, or to elaborate further on the sender’s needs, expectations, doubts, etc.

When you are certain you understand what has been said:

  • “What I hear you saying is…”
  • “From your point of view…”
  • “I’m picking up that you…”
  • “As you see it…”
  • “What I really hear you saying, is that…”
  • “It seems to you…”
  • “You feel…”

When you are less certain that you understand, the following creates the opportunity for the sender to correct you:

  • “I think I hear you saying…”
  • “I wonder if I am correct when I say that…”
  • “It appears you..”
  • “I’m not sure I’m wrong with you but…”
  • “Correct me if I am wrong but…”
  • “Is it possible that…”
  • “Let me see if I understand you…”
w&t_elephant

I Advise

I trust you understand what was meant by Listening beyond what the customer is saying.

Acting upon this information is the true key to agility in business.