Process Triage - Getting a Grip on Your Organization

Bubble Man at Mark Board

Every business has moments that feel like you’re facing a mass casualty situation - massively stressful moments - that require a team to be able to handle simultaneous and urgent issues. For example, your sales folks sold the moonshot - and that's what you want – they sold this amazing deal that you suddenly realize, “Oh My God” we’ve got to fulfill this now! You’re going to put the whole ‘core process’ under deep stress with that kind of win. If your team has been through a triaging experience, they’re inoculated. The response will be “Let’s just get together and just figure this out, but we know it’s going to break in several places with this kind of load, so let’s triage for it.” Or looking at a darker side example, you could have a competitor come and step on your sales funnel. You go “oh my gosh, the sales funnel went flat”. The reaction is the same – let’s get together the team, we have a triaging moment.

Your go-to people, those who eat, breathe, sleep and love the actual technical work of your core processes, deserve an amazing team building experience. Not a ‘play’ session, like some other team building event. But an immersive experience where actual work is accomplished, where people’s efforts are shifted from personality conflicts to focusing on how work actually gets accomplished, With the guidance of an experienced facilitator, the event is a very structured day that leaves participants better at working together and closer together emotionally.

Process Triage ‘immersion event’ begins with a cultural commitment to get some of your tactical issues out of the executive suite and push it out, delegate it forward, to those who are living it. Because you've taken this team and immersed them in a whole day of very safe, objectively facilitated working session, issues are processed in a way that does nothing but bind them together in situational awareness, and with emotional respect and emotional empathy for each other. You now have a team to go forward, solving more problems together, while building team capability. The other great effect is that you’ll observe these go-tos, do-ers, demonstrating amazingly promotable behavior.

The workshop deliverables are pretty straightforward:

  • You've got a team that really sync up with each other
    • Have superb situational awareness so that they know who does what, and what they're working on 
    • Have high emotional IQ. They’ve gotten to understand each other at an emotional level - meaning they know what upsets each other they know what each other needs
  • The physical deliverables are a map of a core process, complete with identified relationships between activities and ‘pain points’
  • You'll typically have between 15 and 25 action items and projects that are prioritized by impact to your core process
  • A best practice guide
  • People who know to how to write and prioritize their plan
  • An amazingly content rich, team strengthening day

Process Triaging event starts with ‘Where Do You Want to Go?’ - a capability goal. This process must sustain a certain measured behavior if it’s going to deliver the results you want in terms of a strategic objective.

Second question is Cultural - do you want those who are living in the teeth of it - the do-er’s, the go-to people, - to have a heavy voice, or a stake, in continuously improving that core process. “Do you want to delegate the incremental improvement to them and place them in a safe space where they can do it?”

When you have a clarified objective and answered the culture question as “absolutely”, then everything else is tactics – “How do we do it?” 

If you want to walk through the day, it’s a very simple engagement. Starting with an executive sponsor that says I want this or I want to add this tool to sharpen this tool in the tool kit. Appoint an understudy host - you generally want them to be in the operating space you delegated. This is an event for them to manage, and you hand the day over to the facilitator. Generally that’s it. 

The executive sponsor gives opening remarks, then steps away to allow a safe space for the team to build the core process map. You want them to work alone and without distraction on that. It's just them and the facilitator. Then after a lunch you are briefed on how the process actually works, and observe the team work towards the process capability goal we talked about. The facilitator leads them through their points of pain nominations and the triaging of those pain points.  

Near the end of the day they lay all these proposals out that are going to remove the pain, and rank them – which one should be worked on first. That’s fun to watch. And then finally the very last moment of the day they’re going to sign up to lead or mentor their own responses.

In triaging, triagers don’t do the changes – they just queue them to those who do. The immersion event triages all those pain points - not resolve any of them. Pain Points are handed off to an action plan or project.

So not only did you hand them goal statement as direction, but they look at it, and say – “well here's the pain and the process related to that goal. Here are the solutions ranked and signed up for to lead those solutions.” Your appointed host (and this is critical) now owes you the implementation plan, presented to you and your leadership team, and it should be ready for you to sign off on it. You're off to the races.


Balanced Hoshin is an associated business offers the Process Triage workshop in the Pacific Northwest. Contact Paul Osborn (Certified Facilitator) at 425-647-7707 or Dave Nave (206.200.4840) at dave@davenave.com for more information.

 Dave Nave & Associates 2018   -   dave@davenave.com