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Testing and More Testing

Creating a Business Continuity Plan for when business interruption occurs is essential for any organization. However, a key factor in the success of any plan requires for routine testing of it.

The worst thing an organization can do is to create a plan and then “put it on the shelf” and never look at it again. Testing is needed to mitigate the risk on whether the plan is effective.

Consider the following:

  • Ensure all involved with the implementation of the plan clearly understand their roles and responsibilities related to its execution
  • Perform a “mock” business interruption that allows for comprehensive testing of the plan
  • Ensure the Communication Plan is included with the testing
  • Review the plan at least once a year to validate that it is aligns with the needs of the organization

Aldridge Kerr can assist you in defining your testing needs. Contact Charlene Aldridge at 972.447.9787 or CharleneAldridge@aldridgekerr.com to discuss how we can assist you.

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Who? What? Where? How? (etc)

In our most recent newsletter, we discussed the perils of settling into a status quo state of mind. If you want to explore looking at an existing process with a “refresh” view, ask the following questions:

  • How important is this process to your organization’s success?
  • If it is important and it is a critical process, what implications are there if it is not performing as intended?
  • Who benefits from this process being refreshed?
  • What is the frequency of this process and when is it performed?
  • Is it clearly understood how long it takes to perform the tasks within the process and why it takes that long?
  • What steps in the process are customer-facing and how does it impact the Customer if performed poorly?
  • Are the steps within the process performed consistently?
  • What steps need to have internal controls to mitigate risks related to perform the process?
  • “How is the process managed? Does it have too much, too little, or just the right amount of oversight?”
  • How do you assess whether the process aligns with your quality objectives?
  • Are the right “tools” (i.e., systems, forms) being used to enhance the use of the process?

As you begin to dissect the steps within a process, it becomes clear what is working well, what could improve, what should change, and the opportunities for operational effectiveness.

Contact Charlene Aldridge at 972.447.9787 or CharleneAldridge@aldridgekerr.com to discuss how we can assist you in evaluating your process.

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Two Obstacles for People Doing a Good Job

Edwards W. Deming, the founder of Total Quality Management (TQM), said that 99% of Staff come to work every day and want to do a good job. However, Deming said, there are two obstacles for people doing a good job: ineffective processes and inadequate training.

If we believe Deming’s hypothesis that most of the obstacles that hinder success by our Staff are due to these issues; then providing training and improving processes will actually positively impact effectiveness. It can be that simple.

Unsure how to get started? Contact Charlene Aldridge at 972.447.9787 or CharleneAldridge@aldridgekerr.com to discuss how we can assist you in providing your Staff what they need for improved effectiveness.

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If you prefer a do-it-yourself approach, check out My COO Resources.

The Walking Encyclopedia

In one of last year’s newsletters, we discussed the challenges that occur when the expertise and knowledge, needed to support the Company, is limited to one or more Staff. These folks, that we affectionately refer to as “Walking Encyclopedias,” bring great value to organizations because their knowledge is quite vast and Leaders rely on them to provide this expertise. The reason it creates challenge is because if and/or when that Walking Encyclopedia leaves the Company, it can create havoc.

This risk can be offset by documenting their knowledge and training others. This can be referenced as going from tribal knowledge (knowledge is limited to certain key Staff) to institutional knowledge (positioning a Company where knowledge is more readily available).

Aldridge Kerr can assist you in mitigating the risks around Walking Encyclopedias. Contact Charlene Aldridge at 972.447.9787 or CharleneAldridge@aldridgekerr.com to discuss how we can assist you.

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If you prefer a do-it-yourself approach, check out My COO Resources.

Management Oversight Made Simple

In our most recent newsletter, we wrapped up our year of discussions around sustainability by emphasizing the importance of management oversight. We believe management oversight does not need to be complicated. Here are some simple, helpful hints for executing oversight within your organization:

  • Focus on your Critical Processes. Assessing these processes builds a good foundation.
  • Ensure those processes are truly “working as intended.” In other words, are the tasks within each process being performed consistency, efficiently, and effectively? If there is not clarity as to how these processes need to be working, then evaluate them and build repeatable processes.
  • Validate that the Critical Processes are being performed by the “right” person. Are there some processes that are only performed by one person? How should this be addressed? Is the most appropriate person(s) responsible for each of the tasks within the process?
  • Assess if there are internal controls that will mitigate risks.
  • Determine if those processes are performed within the timeframes established and performed correctly.

This oversight should be intricately built into the priorities of the organization so that risks can be mitigated, efficiencies and effectiveness can be improved, with timely and quality deliverables. At minimum, we recommend each Critical Process be evaluated once a year.

Need help building management oversight within your organization? Contact Charlene Aldridge at 972.447.9787 or CharleneAldridge@aldridgekerr.com to discuss how we can assist you.

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Document Those One-Only Tasks

As we continue to review our options for mitigating the risks for those one-only tasks that are performed within your organization, an effective approach is to document them. The documentation should be written so that someone else can use the documentation as instructions to perform the one-only task if the primary person is unavailable.

If there is an extensive list of one-only tasks that need to be documented, start with those tasks that are identified as Critical Processes first.

Need help determine what action should be taken to mitigate the risk related to your one-only tasks and/or assistance in documenting your processes? Contact Charlene Aldridge at 972.447.9787 or CharleneAldridge@aldridgekerr.com to discuss how we can assist you.

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If you prefer a do-it-yourself approach, check out My COO Resources. Also, check out our blogs on our My COO Resources website.