Empower Your CEO: Axing Through Processes Jungle

jungle of processes

What’s worse than meetings? Meetings where your boss gets to sit in and watch. But if you empower your CEO, by giving them an ax and permission to cut through the jungle of processes, then things get interesting!

You’ll see that allowing a manager, even the CEO, to attend your meetings is not such a bad idea.

And you might actually end up with simpler processes and the ultimate approval to remove unnecessary steps.

Simplifying Workflows for Efficient Meetings

Early in my career, I was helping one of my first big clients.

Our job was to come in and help the company deploy a work management solution (Asana).

But before implementing any process or workflow, you need to evaluate the situation and understand the processes.

That’s usually the moment when the stakeholders helping you say things like, “Oh damn, good luck.”

Slashing Through the Jungle of Approvals

I had a good relationship with the CEO, and he was deeply invested in the Asana rollout, so he asked if he could sit in on one of the meetings.

The topic of the day: map out the process to release a blog post on the company website. Everybody was there: the copyright team, the dev team, the legal team…

Things started as usual: they explained how they catalog ideas, receive ideas through a form, triage them, pick an idea, write the content, translate it, and… get it approved by Linda, then Richard, then Barbara, and finally by Paul.

The CEO was perplexed. “Are you seriously waiting for 4 different approvals to release a simple blog post? That’s crazy!”.

And he was met with the common refrain, “Well, this is how we’ve always done it.” 

The CEO immediately took a machete to the process jungle, removing all the useless steps and approvals to streamline the operation.

Now just a single approval was needed to release the blog post.

What had happened? 

A once simple process grew into something much more complex, where everyone along the way people protected themselves by adding extra layers of approvals.

While others insisted they should be an approver to somehow justify their role.

The Key Lesson Learned

Watching from the sideline, I learned a key lesson when mapping processes:

Always make sure to involve the person who has the authority to simplify the process.

The simpler the process, the better. Empower your CEO!

There’s an immediate financial impact of simplifying processes.

Three unnecessary layers of validation could represent 10 or 20 hours per month of extra work by a team of highly skilled workers, which cost the company could be between $100 and $200 an hour.

That’s between $1,000 and $4,000 right there in immediate optimization (in addition to the headaches you saved).

Transparency and Incentives for Change

Don’t hide behind process. When documenting the way your team work, make the emphasis on what you believe are unnecessary steps, and make it a priority to try and find out if those could be simplified and streamlined.

Insist on financial incentive if you have to, no one likes to waste time, and no one wants to waste money!

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