How a Graph Can Help You Find Gaps in Your Business

Girl next to the laptop, drawing diagrams on the paper

Being a management consultant is like being a medical doctor in the ER. You never know what you are going to get, what type of cases will be presented, and what will be the state of your next patient.

This is exactly what happened early in the spring of this year. I had conducted an initial assessment for a client and presented five key recommendations for operational improvement, technical innovation and interpersonal skill development. The CEO of the company was not too convinced there were needed changes for the operational improvement. However, the data proved differently. Still not able to see where the changes were needed, I decided to graph the entire process and pinpoint the specific areas where changes can make a significant impact.

As the old saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” That is what this graph accomplished. Each step of the process was highlighted, with decision-making points included, and junctions in the process where a workflow highlighted a flaw in the process, as well as other areas where there was a need to measure and include metrics.

The area in question was the lead-flow process, and in the eyes of this very talented executive, things were working fine. Nonetheless, his vision was clouded by the lens through which he was seeing the situation, as well as by the limited knowledge he had about this space. The graph was compelling and showed the before and after scenarios. It helped him to see more clearly and accurately the need for improvement.

The following are some things you can do to help troubleshot areas of your business by diagramming your process:

  1.       Identify the area where you suspect there are challenges.
  2.       Bring in an expert to help you visualize the process objectively.
  3.       Evaluate the people to identify improvements.
  4.       Map the process, ensuring it is always aligned with your company’s strategic plan.
  5.       Ask questions, lots of questions.
  6.       Challenge the status quo.
  7.       Involve other stakeholders.
  8.       See what the future state will look like.
  9.       Manage change as you move through the process.

Diagramming your process will allow you to visualize the area in question and find gaps where you can allocate resources, technology or simply improve processes. Through past engagements with various Inside Sales organizations in the technology space, NextStage has observed that the identified gaps are the stumbling block of growth. Since our expertise is in Inside Sales, we have found that companies who address the challenges found through the gaps analysis propel their businesses forward.