I first heard the term “business process improvement” by Robby Slaughter during my interview for AccelaWork back in 2007. I hadn’t the slightest clue what it meant, but was intrigued to learn more. Now, nearly five years later as I write my final blog post, I look back and smile. Sure, I set out to learn more, but I ended up changing my entire perspective.
When I first approached Robby about the opportunity with AccelaWork, I immediately knew success would come once I was able to put aside the generic state of mind I had developed working in the 9 to 5 corporate bubble. Once that occurred, I knew I would be ready to soak up as much knowledge as my frontal lobe could stand. Funny though, as easy and refreshing as it sounded, ridding myself of the “habits” I picked up in the first five years of my career proved to be extremely difficult. And here’s why: I had to first experience AccelaWork’s mission before I could truly understand it. And so my journey began.
My first step to letting go of the corporate safety blanket was tackling my hang-up with the notion of facetime. In my previous job, the office environment groomed us to believe that working overtime, productive or not, had an actual effect on the work we did. Yes, this notion sounds crazy. But, it was a habit so ingrained in me that it was a strain to break.
When Robby first told me I could set my own working hours as well as define my own goals for project completion, I hardly believed him. But, there it was: a colleague who empowered me to take control of my own workflow. AccelaWork has taught me that in order to measure the value of productivity growth properly, we must focus in on quality. Hours in the office have no bearing on an employee’s success; particularly if the work they produce is done in a smarter, more efficient manner.
I also faced the task of viewing improvement as more than just a remedy to problems. In my old line of work, the need for improvement only came when mistakes began affecting the desired outcome. So unless the process was clearly problematic, investing the time to update and improve was considered an unaffordable luxury. After all, work needed to get done, deadlines were always fleeting and time was always of the essence. In this regard, AccelaWork has taught me that process improvement is a living concept that continually opens avenues for further innovation. There are always ways to increase employee productivity and become more efficient.
The most difficult concept to warm up to however, was viewing and accepting failure as a stepping stone toward success. I had the privilege of working directly with Robby on Failure: The Secret To Success. Not only did I get to help develop the concept, but I also was able to immerse myself in the research. Once again, I was thrown for a loop: brainstorm and research positive failures in history? It sounded like an oxymoron. But, true to form, I began to truly understand. AccelaWork has taught me that mistakes happen. We cannot change what has already occurred, but we can proactively learn from our experience and utilize such knowledge to grow in our ability.
It’s been a wild ride working with AccelaWork these past years. I’ve been enlightened day after day by the overall vision that the company is based upon. I thank Robby for all he has taught me and promise to keep the lessons I’ve learned close in mind if and when I embark upon new pastures in corporate America again. But for now, I am taking a hiatus from working to focus on family life. I also want to thank the loyal readers for your continued readership and support in the ongoing conversation of process improvement!