What is a Core Process?
A Core Process in any business consists of a set of “to dos” that every business must have. Whether you are a corner store or a large multi-national, you will need at a minimum:
1. A Strategic Plan, including a vision of the future of the business;
2. An Operational Plan, i.e. how the Business Strategy will get implemented;
3. A Human Resource Management Plan by which to manage your people;
4. A Financial Management Plan to handle budgeting and cash flow;
5. A Delivery Structure that sets out how products and services will be delivered;
6. Performance Management that tells you how well your business is doing; and
7. An overall Business Plan that integrates all of the elements of your business
What is involved in setting up the Core Processes?
Core Processes may be simple or more complex, depending on the nature and size of your business, but they definitely need to be there. As a matter of hard fact, banking institutions will demand a Business Case of you that will contain the Core Processes before they will extend any kind of financing to a business. However, bank financing is not the only reason for paying attention to the Core Processes: it simply makes good sense to answer some simple questions (and write down the responses):
1. Where you are going as a business?
2. How are you going to get there?
3. Who is going to be involved?
4. How will they be organized?
5. Where the money will come from?
6. How you are performing as a business?
7. How does the whole plan for the business come together for success?
From the general to the specific
As you parse out the Core Processes for your business, you will realize that this is way of thinking that goes from the general, i.e. your vision and mission as a business, all the way to the very specific, dealing with human and financial resources. The goal of working out the Core Processes is to create a meaningful and realistic picture of the business, so that everyone in the organization knows where they fit and what to do.
Often, in larger organizations, there is an entire Business Planning process that involves consultation with managers and staff on the elements of the Core Processes. In smaller businesses, it’s a coffee cup meeting, where the principals sit with each other and work out the details of how their store will run.
Measurement, the key to success
When we speak of performance management, we are dealing with two connected elements: the performance of people and the performance of the entire organization. These are linked through measurement, which is why you often hear the term
“performance measures” or “performance indicators”, used in management. This is sometimes scary for people, who think that they are going to be “measured” and perhaps found lacking. Measurement is simply the way that the organization can figure out how well people are working individually and how well the business is doing collectively. For people, it’s a matter of setting goals and checking in on their accomplishment; for the organization, it’s setting up whatever measures are needed to
find out if the business is successful. Both sets of checks are aimed at improvement, so that people can work better, keep their jobs and the organization can survive in the market place it has chosen to be a part of. So, measuring performance is one of the essentials when it comes to the Core Processes.