Learn how to visualize your organization as a set of process steps leading to strategic success. Apply those steps to the customer experience as a Disney theme park. Identify their bottlenecks. Learn how pivotal bottleneck analysis helps you know where investments should maintain important processes.
- A strong HR strategy, helps you make better investments in people. That means, you can target your people investments to the strategic pivot points, where those investments have the largest impact on your strategic success. How do you find those strategic pivot points? One way is to look for the bottlenecks or constraints in your organizational processes. Once you find a bottleneck in your processes, you can figure out how people can improve the bottleneck.
Imagine you're a leader in the division that runs Disney theme parks, such as Disneyland and Disney World. How could you find the vital constraint that would make the biggest impact on your strategy? You would start by imagining the guest experience as a series of process steps that lead to a key strategic outcome. The strategic outcome at a Disney theme park is to create a magical guest experience. You can think of the park experience as a limited number of minutes during which Disney's strategic goal is to create maximum magic, surprise, and delight for the park guests.
You would start by imagining the guest experience as a series of process steps that lead to a key strategic outcome. The strategic outcome at a Disney theme park is to create a magical guest experience. You can think of the park experience as a limited number of minutes during which Disney's strategy goal is to create maximum magic, surprise, and delight for the park guests. The steps in that process might look like this. Step one, arrive at the Disney resort.
Step two, check in and go to your room at the hotel. Step three, ride the transport to the park. Step four, wait in line for the rides and attractions. Step five, experience the rides and attractions. And step six, experience the characters. Step seven, dine at the restaurants. Now that you've identified the process steps, you need to decide which step is the strategic bottleneck? A common mistake is to try to find the strategic bottleneck by asking which steps in this process are important to creating a magical guest experience? Of course the answer would be, all the steps are important.
That isn't much help, you'd end up making equal people investments across all the process steps, which isn't very strategic. A better way to identify the pivot points or bottlenecks is to ask this question. Where would improving a process step make the largest impact on the guest experience? Let's see why that question, gives you a better answer. The fact is, that many of the steps are already very strong contributors to a magical guest experience.
Disney has world-class hotels, transportation, rides, characters, and restaurants. They are important but when you ask whether improving them would make a big difference, you realize that it wouldn't. They're already good enough. Look again at the process steps. What is the one that if you improved it, would most enhance the magical experience? Waiting in line. Reducing waiting in line or making it more magical will impact guest experience more than improving other process steps.
That's why the process step of waiting in line, is the bottleneck or constraint. Now you know where to look for your pivotal talent, work, people, and organization elements. They'll be the ones that reduce or improve waiting in line. Does focusing on the bottleneck mean that you stop investing in non-pivotal process steps? Not at all. You must continue to maintain those non-pivotal elements so they don't get worse and become bottlenecks themselves.
When you understand the difference between constrained and unconstrained process steps, you can tailor your people investments more precisely. You're not trapped in the idea that everything is important so we'll just invest equally across the board. You may have guessed that analyzing bottlenecks also helps you shift your strategic investments when your strategy or market conditions change. In the example of Disney, once you improve waiting in line to high standard, then other parts of the process may become bottlenecks.
You can then shift your investments to improving those new bottlenecks. Though it's a simple idea, finding the bottlenecks is a powerful way to make your HR strategy more precise and to increase its impact. Let's draw a process map for one of your strategic outcomes. What are the steps that lead to that outcome? Which of those steps is a bottleneck? You'll find that the bottleneck is where improving quality and performance would make the largest strategic impact.
- Asking the right questions
- Focusing on what is pivotal
- Defining sustainable strategic success
- Finding bottlenecks
- Pivotal talent attributes and HR deliverables
- Strategic HR investments
- HR measurements and analytics