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Processes Can Stifle Innovation and Success




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by Mary-Rose Hoja in EPE, Sales

Today I want to talk about the danger of processes when you are innovating.

I think that the word innovation is massively overused, to the point where you start to wonder what it actually means.

In my world, it means making something better. We talk a lot in Expert Profit Engine world about the importance of processes and systems for business success.

But with that being said, I think it’s really important not to stop people from thinking. Overuse of processes can actually make innovation flat and act as a brake or an obstacle to making things better, faster or cheaper and leading you closer to business success. You want growth to accelerate innovation.

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I was reminded of this recently when my daughter was given a packing list for a volleyball tournament in which she was participating.  The packing list forgot to include a towel, and so she forgot to bring one. She is an extremely thinking person who is typically very organized, and if she hadn’t been given a list, I’m confident that after thinking through the process and routines surrounding a trip such as this, she would have remembered to pack a towel.  But having that list caused her to stop thinking.

And that’s exactly what lists, processes, and scripts can do. They stop people from thinking. While it’s important to have guidelines in place, they should be looked at as rough tools that must be used judiciously and with prudence, in a case-by-case basis.

When it comes to your products, programs and services, having processes in place is essential for your business because you can’t scale or leverage without them. But the thing that’s going to keep you abreast of the competition and give the constant growth and doing better is that you use these processes as a sort of framework to function within while allowing your creativity to remain active.

With your team, and for yourself as a leader and a business owner, you need to keep yourself in an agile way of thinking and to always be contemplating what you can tweak. It’s fantastic to have processes so you’re not re-inventing the wheel each time you face a particular undertaking, but these systems should only cover 80-90% of the task.

That last 10-20%, that’s where the profitability is. The beauty, uniqueness, and distinctiveness of your business comes from that part, and it’s often where customer service excellence, relationship-based sales, and the after-sales piece comes in.

Without the processes and systems that are critical for creating a framework, you’ll have anarchy. But they must not be followed religiously, as you need to enable the freedom to move. It’s within that freedom where the people that are very ambitious will be able to shine.

It’s also incredibly important to actively encourage people to think for themselves, or your business will not grow and you will stifle your stars.

That is why it’s so essential that you don’t operate completely in a vacuum.  You want to ensure that your business has very active customer contacts, that you have active training of your people and yourself, and that you exercise and have active relaxation off time.

That is when your system has a chance to reboot, mature, and process the things that have happened. When you’re speaking to people or resting, depending on whether you are an introvert or extrovert, that is where the great ideas come and the energy comes back.

The longer I do this, and the higher quality clients I work with, the more I see that increased success comes when you slow down.

At one point, while running down a corridor to get to a meeting, someone literally said to me,  “You know, 35 year olds have heart attacks, too”. The way I was conducting myself was a ridiculous way of carrying on.

The people who need your help or expertise need to see that calmness in you. They need those anchor points. I think Yoda and Buddha are amazing characters, as they’ve already understood that you don’t need to run for success.

Your success will come faster when you slow down.  Right now I really feel that in my business, as I am generating more revenue and have bigger billings. I am happier, and the people around me are happier.

When you slow down, you realize how fast you’ve been going. Making space for your creativity and ingenuity is imperative to really allowing your business to flourish.

For more information on how we establish systems and processes that create a framework and allow for growth, please visit expertprofitengine.com and download our free guide.