Does your team have a bottleneck? Is there somewhere in the organisation that the work just doesn’t pass through quickly enough? Do team members hesitate to make decisions with speaking to this one person (insert name, department here)? Are you a bottleneck yourself?
What if the growth of the business or the efficiencies of the whole team was a simple matter of taking a kink out of a hose? This is much like a bottleneck situation.
Simply by looking at the processes and systems and seeing if there are bottleneck points in the business you may be able to instigate major improvements with little culture change.
Questions to consider are:
- Is a controlling individual involved?
- Is there a well meaning person thinking that they are helping when in fact they are hindering the system and taking over responsibilities that are not theirs?
- Are there people that complain about being overworked yet at the same time seem to revel in the drama? It could be a sign that they’re holding on to more than they need to.
- Are there processes that force decisions to have to come from higher levels of management that could be broken down into smaller levels? Can certain tasks be delegated to more junior staff, more complex decisions to the next level up?
- Are there levels of management in place yet the team leaders are not empowered with the authority? The bottleneck is then forced up to more senior people above them.
- Are people doing tasks that are ultimately not theirs to do? This can create a bottleneck just by changing the path of communication but it can also mean issues have to be moved up to management every time creating a false bottleneck.
- Poorly designed workflow process can send work through a bottleneck
- Could the department or team be divided into smaller parallel teams so that the workload is distributed more evenly?
- With very small change and little culture shock you can make for large scale improvements and efficiencies by taking out the kink in the hose.