Finding the Big PI Opportunities

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

If you have been around the Business Process Improvement profession long enough, you probably know that, for many, one of the biggest challenges is to consistently find BPI opportunities that have huge paybacks; and by “huge” I mean those that will provide 500 to 1,000 percent return on investment while leveraging the achievement of the organization’s goals and objectives.

Throughout my over 30 years in the BPI game I have seen it all, from mining suggestion boxes to improvement idea fishing surveys to just plain guessing--none of which ensure that any worthwhile (let alone strategic) improvement opportunities will surface. What I haven’t seen enough of is a structured and pragmatic approach that begins with the organization’s strategies, goals and objectives; identifies the shortfalls; pinpoints the hurdles and impediments; and then systematically develops cross-functional solutions.

To be honest, the inability to find breakthrough BPI opportunities seems to speak to one of the biggest reasons BPI effectiveness is waning--if not absent--in so many organization’s today. BPI is not an intellectual pursuit; it is the process of discovering, defining and implementing organizationally aligned solutions. In fact, the process is quite straightforward and logical if approached correctly.

In an effort to illustrate this point, I offer …

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