Identifying Your Critical Processes

“Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.”

James W. Frick

First, let’s ensure we all are defining “process” the same. Aldridge Kerr defines “process” as “the method or system, consisting of a series of tasks, used to achieve a desired result.”

What is the “desired result?” The “desired result” ultimately should be to align an organization’s daily tasks (its processes) to its vision. In other words, how an organization spends its time, energy, and resources should directly correlate to its vision and mission.

What is a “critical process?” Each Functional Area routinely performs 10 – 15 processes. Although they may believe all are critical, in reality, there are typically 3 – 5 processes that are essential to each Functional Area. These are the processes that are required in order for the organization to survive if all processes could not be performed.

It is important to identify those processes that are most critical. An organization’s vision, consisting of who the organization is and why they function, should dictate what tasks are performed every day. This alignment is not always the case; so identifying the processes most critical to the organization:

  • Provides Management with an understanding of how each Functional Area is spending its time and what each area defines as most important;
  • Identifies the gaps between what Management views as priority (critical) compared to what each Functional Area defines as critical;
  • Positions the organization to determine if their daily tasks align with the company’s vision;
  • Assists the organization in more effectively correlating their daily tasks to its vision and mission;
  • Identifies which processes should be evaluated for their effectiveness and efficiency. Those processes are the ones that should bring the most value to an organization and, therefore, should be the most effective and efficient;
  • Defines which processes should be documented (which we’ll explore further in a separate newsletter); and
  • Establishes the baseline for a Business Impact Analysis (an essential task within business interruption preparedness).

Aldridge Kerr uses its proven facilitation methodology to assist our Clients in identifying their most critical processes.