Thursday, February 24, 2022; 1:00 pm–2:00 pm CT
IPD’s Lee Kuntz continues with our “About Operations Transformation” series of informational, no-cost webinars in this look at process design for new systems.
When a foundation updates its software system, the purchase typically requires years of research and a financial investment that can run well into six figures. So, it’s important to make the most of that purchase. The most effective way to do that is to use system upgrades as an opportunity to reexamine internal processes.
In this live, no-cost webinar, you will learn the best practices for redesigning and maximizing business processes and practices during new system implementation.
Speaker: Lee Kuntz, Certified Process Coach, CLSSBB
Register in advance for this meeting:
Once you register, you will receive a Zoom meeting invite. We hope you will join us for this free informational session.
Operations–the work done to execute an organization’s mission–is critical to success. Given this, Lee Kuntz of Innovation Process Design is conducting a ten-question operations survey. The purpose of the survey is to gather information to help philanthropic organizations identify their next opportunities maximize their people, systems and processes to improve their operations outcomes.
This survey asks about changes organizations expect to make in 2022 and also looks back at the operations improvements organizations made during the pandemic. Because operations include people, processes, and tools, the survey questions cover each of these areas.
Are you a philanthropic operations leader interested in identifying your organization’s next operations opportunities and in helping others in the philanthropic sector? Then we invite you to share your expertise by answering this ten-question survey.
Lee and Innovation Process Design look forward to sharing the survey findings and analysis in a summary report and in webinars in 2022.
Many organizations are focused on building their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) capabilities. Yet daily operations continue as a priority. The community continues to need help. Funders need transparency and services. And operations processes need to be improved to deliver more services and better outcomes. With operations and DEI being parallel focuses, now is the time to incorporate DEI into process improvement to create an expanded impact.
Proven process improvement tools have been streamlining workflow and delivering better outcomes for years. Learn more about these time-tested tools and the importance of professional certification in this blog post: Process Certification Helps Organizations Achieve the Results They Need.
Historically, when a certified process improvement consultant uses these tools to transform both processes and outcomes, the track record has been impressive. The graph below illustrates how Innovation Process Design (IPD) capitalizes on our skills and experience to make processes faster and better, resulting in an enhanced customer experience and recaptured internal capacity.
In our upcoming webinar, learn more about how we have used these recognized approaches to help bring positive, measurable results to many organizations: Live Webinar: The Secret to Recapturing Foundation Time And Capacity.
Increasingly, many organizations are seeking to understand and incorporate DEI into their daily operations in a significant way. We understand diversity to mean that multiple identities and characteristics are represented in an organization. Equity means all these diverse identities have power. Inclusion means that all perspectives matter.
When a full-bodied commitment to DEI is in place, individuals within an organization feel a sense of belonging. Diversity advocate Verna Myers said it well. “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”
The figure below defines diversity, equity, and inclusion and illustrates the potency of their overlap.
When tried-and-true process improvement tools are supplemented with DEI focused techniques, great results can happen. Teams develop a clearer understanding of what their partners and patrons need. These teams generate more innovative ideas. They also improve decision making by incorporating the views and expertise of diverse team members. Positive synergy results when everyone feels heard and included.
IPD’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion guides our internal operations. In addition, we have designed, tested, and added DEI steps into our process improvement training and coaching services. Our underlying beliefs and actions have shaped our DEI statement:
Innovation Process Design works to unlock and optimize organizations and their employees to maximize their operations impact. Our services engage organizations in bringing diverse views into each process design. We focus on using data and practicing transparency to identify and remove bias. Through the use of proven tools and approaches during projects, we help assess and balance power to create equity and inclusion. We live our diversity, equity, and inclusion values by holding ourselves accountable as we ask for and act on feedback.
Feedback from clients who have leveraged our certified process improvement + DEI services show they have been impressed by our commitment to incorporating DEI in process redesign. Even though these organizations are formulating or have already worked through their next iteration of DEI, they are surprised by our approach and questions. I suspect this is the first time they have thought about DEI and processes this way. Also, few consultants have integrated this important attribute into their services, making IPD’s services unique.
Through our coaching and training, organizations are successfully executing process improvement . They are receiving input from a wider range of staff and community representatives and are experiencing more eye-opening moments. For example, one foundation representative recently commented that “people who normally don’t speak up, now are.” Foundations appreciate that improving the way they do their work can be compatible with their commitment to DEI.
Organizations are liking the results they achieve through process improvement plus DEI. Staff members hear, engage, and understand more. These organizations live their DEI values while achieving improved outcomes. Your organization can too! Contact Lee Kuntz to learn more. And follow our blogs to hear more about the results organizations are achieving from proven process improvement tools +DEI.
Did the pandemic impact your grant payments? Are employees moving paper from location to location to get checks out? Are they working extra-long hours? Does it take more time to get checks out? What feedback is your organization getting from grantees and vendors about paper checks?
One organization looked into their busy season and decided to proactively take action to help employees and the community thrive. Here is their story:
Streamline Through Effective, Paperless, Electronic Payments Case Study.
Many philanthropic organizations look to increase their focus on racial equity. Yet, how will they find the capacity to do this work? Capacity to bring in more funds? Run another educational program? Take on added back office work to accommodate these efforts? Some are adding staff and expenses. Others are working to cut existing programs. Another set of grantmakers are finding their capacity by transforming their processes, recapturing hundreds—even thousands—of hours. A key driver of these impressive outcomes? Process transformation tool training and expert coaching.
Solving the Capacity Constraint
Process transformation is an advanced deep dive into processes to uncover and solve inefficiencies and ineffectiveness. For example, a nonprofit organization’s goal was to educate minority, non-English speaking minority home seekers on how to purchase a home. Before they received this education, home seekers were onboarded through a complex process that took 90 days. Since homes in their price range were being snapped up quickly, those stuck in the onboarding process did not get the help they needed in time to buy their desired home. Also, this long, complicated onboarding process consumed tons of nonprofit labor hours, which limited the number of community members the nonprofit could serve.
This nonprofit team solved their challenges by conducting a process transformation event on their onboarding processes. With the help of process transformation coaching and training, this team significantly redesigned onboarding, decreasing turnaround time from 90 days to a stunning 7 to 20 days. The nonprofit also recaptured time, which they redirected to educating more community members. Due to their process transformation coaching and training journey, this organization now makes a bigger racial equity impact by enabling more minorities in their community to buy a home.
New Process Transformation Tools Require Training
Process transformation uses more advanced techniques than traditional process improvement, including identifying waste and establishing fact-based quality management. Many of the process transformation tools come from the Lean operations, Six Sigma, and Human Centered Design methodologies.
Given that many process transformation approaches are new to users, they need training to use these powerful tools successfully. Whether the training is face-to-face or online, attendees of our training both learn to use the approaches and accept the need for improvement in their own work. Organizations say this training readies employees to engage in change (human change management) and improves the organization’s outcomes.
Expert Coaching to Success
As with any tool, process transformation tools are effective only when they are used the right way. It takes practice to know how to get the most out of these methods. For example, my Six Sigma Black Belt certification required me to submit two successful projects that effectively utilized Six Sigma principles. This requirement acknowledges that such tools are learned and tested only through practice. Also, many certification programs require applicants to work under the direction of an experienced, certified coach to help them be successful.
We provide coaching to all the teams we work with to show how process transformation can work in their own unique situation. The benefits of this coaching are twofold. First, coaching builds process skills and muscles. Teams need confirmation that they are using a given tool the right way, and they gain confidence through supervised use.
Second, our experienced process transformation coach ensures that teams maximize their results. Years of practice brings a level of expertise about which tool to use and when and how to use it. For example, when should quality management tools be used? When should the team push harder to find wasted steps? When is the team basing its approach on assumptions rather than facts? On average, teams we have trained and coached have improved process outcomes by 52%. That means a process of 100 steps can be streamlined to consist of about 50 steps, with the resulting time recapture.
First Step to Increase Focus on Racial Equity: Create Capacity
Philanthropic organizations who look to increase their commitment to racial equity can increase their capacity for this important work through process transformation. Grantmakers who transform DAF grants, gifts, or other critical processes can recapture a thousand or more hours hundreds of hours without doing additional hiring or stopping the programs they were already doing. You can too. Contact Lee to identify your goals and challenges and to formulate a process transformation plan that will recapture your team’s capacity.
Is your organization striving to work online to seamlessly serve your community? Likewise, my team has gone on a similar quest to effectively deliver our process improvement training and coaching in a live virtual format. I am delighted that the philanthropic organization we serve say my team’s virtual services are “efficient and effective in building the muscle and capacity needed to create meaningful change.” In this article, I share four essential elements we have incorporated into our virtual training and coaching events to create client success. Go Virtual to Improve Results During COVID-19 Emergency
As founder and president of Innovation Process Design, Lee Kuntz has spent over two decades using process improvement to solve the unique challenges faced by leaders of complex service organizations. Through expert training and coaching, she helps teams look at their work with new eyes, transform how work gets done, and create real results.
Most philanthropic and nonprofit organizations were working at or near capacity before the COVID-19 health crisis. But the virus has created serious new needs for the populations they serve, and many organizations are grappling with the disruption caused by a shift to remote work, declining donations, and an unpredictable stock market.
While it might all seem overwhelming at times, there are resources that can help with this increased demand. Live, online process transformation training and coaching from Innovation Process Design can help. This skill building resource enables organizations to increase capacity and enhance their ability to positively impact targeted populations while keeping staff safe. That means organizations can address this abundance of new opportunities without putting an undue burden on their team.
Training and coaching work together to improve existing processes and increase an organization’s capacity. Training allows organizations to create a culture of improvement while building the muscle they need to make substantive changes. Meanwhile, coaching advances that foundation by allowing organizations to take a deep dive into a specific problem.
Because COVID-19-related volatility is projected to continue for at least the next six months, taking organizations to the beginning of the giving season, increasing capacity will be essential to fulfilling the nonprofit mission. Taking a wait-and-see approach may cause organizations to miss opportunities now and require that they play catch-up instead of hitting the ground running in October. By optimizing capacity now, organizations can address existing needs and prepare to reach year-end goals.
Think about it this way: Effective coaching, which requires a foundation of training, could allow employees to recapture between 30% and 60% of their time – from 500 to 1,500 hours per year. That’s good for now, when many employees are figuring out the finer points of working remotely, and it’s also beneficial later, when operations return to normal.
Building capacity doesn’t have to disrupt operations, either. Our online meetings take place over a couple of weeks to ensure they will not take team members away from their normal workflows. Sessions are conducted in small groups, allowing for easy interaction and opportunities for all questions to be answered.
Innovation Process Design has years of experience helping community foundations and philanthropic organizations optimize processes and workflows. We use tech-savvy tools and engaging content to share best practices that have been proven over the past 20 years. We give employees concrete projects to work on that will help them recapture time.
That time will be more important than ever as organizations work to weather an unprecedented health crisis – and help their communities do the same.
I welcome the opportunity to answer questions, to discuss your organization’s unique challenges, and to tell you more about how virtual process improvement can help.
Registration for Think Differently Process Improvement Training™ in Dallas on May 2 closes next Friday!
This one day of learning and practice is the first step to solving pain points. Foundations who started with this step have moved from overwhelming workloads to investing recaptured time in their community. They are fully using their expensive technology. Grants go out better and faster. These foundations now say yes to their Board of Directors.
Hundreds even thousands of hours of time are just waiting for you to find. Take this first step to be the hero to your foundation.
Finally, you have approval to bring on a brand-new, expensive system to help do the most important work! Your team has been talking about it for years. The organization has committed to achieving substantial benefits from the big investment—commitments including everything other than your firstborn.
The Critical Question
You take a deep breath and wonder how you will put the new system in place in a way that fulfills all those promises. Putting a new, expensive system is place is not something teams do every day. In addition, it requires significant incremental work. Therefore, many teams look outside the organization for a skilled technology consultant.
One of the first questions a consultant will ask is, What steps do you want to automate through this system? Answering this question is critical. It makes the difference between delivering on promises and living with regret for years to come.
Some organizations answer the automation question by explaining exactly how work is being done now. This involves talking through the steps that happen when work goes well. But even a smooth progression through the steps may entail shuffling multiple paper copies, handing items back and forth until they are correct, and fielding phone calls from customers wanting to know where something is. Is that really the process you want to automate?
Recently a foundation leader shared with me that her organization spent nearly $750,000 on a new online, interactive grants system implementation. Yet after the software was installed, the employees continued to follow the labor-intensive processes that they were accustomed to. For example, they still made three copies of every grant check. They handwrote donor requests and then entered them into the online portal. They mailed letters instead of using the online portal or email features. Because employees didn’t capitalize on the capabilities of the new system, the team received very little benefit from their big investment. And everyone talked about how the implementation was a disaster.
Most technology consultants will help you map out and automate how work gets done now. And most system manuals will show you which screens and fields to use. But will these steps help you decrease the time and work it takes to serve your clients?
An Approach to Deliver on Promises
Some organizations go about new system implementation differently. They redesign how they do work before a new system is installed using proven business process improvement business process improvement business process improvement. Then, when their technology consultant asks what work steps they want to automate, they can speak with knowledge and confidence.
For example, recently a chief financial officer utilized a process improvement specialist over one week to help the team redesign processes shared his outcomes. “We designed the best process for us. Then, we pushed the consultant and technology to work for us, rather than bending to what the vendor said we should do.” This leader said that between process redesign and making full use of the new tool, they recaptured about 1,500 hours of work time, which they reinvested into serving the community.
Would recapturing work time while delivering better and faster results be valuable to deliver on promises to leadership and the board?
Check out this companion blog to learn more: Process Redesign—Before or After New Software Install?
Before your organization installs a new system, contact me, Lee Kuntz, to learn more about how your organization can get real value from your new system and processes. Learn how leveraging a process specialist for one week can help you deliver on your promises. Others have redesigned processes and installed new systems with game-changing results. You can too!
Public charities and private foundations play a vital role in society, addressing challenges that affect underserved and at-risk populations and communities. Yet, the very organizations that help so many people also face their own challenges, including limited staff resources and shrinking budgets, that can keep them from achieving their missions.
There are many factors affecting resources that organizational leaders can’t influence. But one frequently overlooked tool has the power to get more employees out of the back office and out serving their community: continuous process improvement.
Learn more in my article published in Philanthropy News Digest
Work The Process: Four Keys to Maximizing Limited Resources