Analyzing for Improvement

CraigHaving analyzed over 1,000 businesses, and while there is a great deal of technology on how to do this, there is one vital fundamental to know/use to improve what you are doing.


To improve production in any activity one must first analyze the actions involved or list out each step to be done in their exact sequence.

Walk through the sequences of action, noting anything that doesn’t make sense, omitted, or worse – botched up. If you are noticing the overall production is bugged, look at each step, in sequence, to locate which step fouls or hinders the ones that follow. Picture these steps like dominoes, one flaw and the rest won’t tumble down.

If you are doing something new, then work on the sequence until it makes complete sense, but as this is only on paper, you will have to test it out fully in the real world as well.

Take a private medical practice for example, and assuming you already know how to deliver your high-quality services, the sequence would possibly go like this… What actions are needed to acquire new patients? What do you do exactly at in-take? How do you schedule? How do you ensure schedules are kept? How are patients moved into delivery? And how are they then set for their next appointment? How do you improve arrival assurance? And finally, this is one of the most important but often forgotten/ the one which can help boom your company; How do you get this patient to refer you more patients?

Each of these major steps could be botched up and then adversely effect the next step in line. Take the time to get a good clear LOOK at each step, and correct the ones which contain flaws. You can do this for the whole operation, or any one piece of it separately.

How do you tell if you have corrected the right thing? Simple! If the production you expect is now being accomplished routinely, you have it! If not, go back and follow the above actions again.


Once you know your entire sequence of actions you could then checklist these for inspection purposes. “Management by checklist” is an excellent way to do things!

One BIG tip. DO NOT ask people if they are doing the steps! WATCH, LOOK and SEE what they actually do! Most will tell you “of course”, but when you actually look you’ll discover they are not doing it quite right.

You will find much IS being done correctly, and you must acknowledge this. Acknowledgement of the correct actions are more important than complaints about the flaws.

I have analyzed companies I knew very little about by having each member of the team show me in sequence what they do, and then followed who/where they routed their work to, then followed the sequence going to the next person and doing the same.

It becomes evident when we discover areas of double work, incorrect sequences, actions that don’t belong, actions taking too long, missing tools, knowledge, etc.

So if you find your staff not producing well enough, go look and see what are the exact sequence of steps needed to obtain the required levels of production. Then work out to get them done efficiently, professionally and in sufficient volume from start to finish.

May the flaws fall away allowing prosperity to reign! And… when you have a happy customer, get them to refer you additional business!

PS. You can apply this information to most anything – cooking, mechanics, art, business, and even marriage.

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