How to Identify and Fix a Broken Process (3 Questions to Ask)

Struggling to figure out which of your processes need to be fixed? Process improvement to fix a broken process is an ongoing journey that business owners, entrepreneurs, and leaders can’t rush through or skip over.

In this video, we’re giving you a simple 3-part framework to identify which processes need improvement in your business so you get one step closer to your goals!

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Is your process working?

Whether you’ve been in business for one year or one decade, you’ve likely figured out a business is a sum of a bunch of moving parts. We call those “parts” systems and processes.

Once you’ve figured this out, you might wonder:

  • “Which area of my business should I focus on?”
  • “What parts of my business are holding me back from growth?”
  • “Do I need to fix any processes in my business?”

All valid questions! In this article, we’re giving you a simple 3-part framework to help answer these questions and, ultimately, help you fix a broken process.

Define what your processes are first, then fix them.

Before you can identify and fix a broken process in your business, you must first define your processes. If you’re new to the concept of defining your processes, here’s an example of what this can look like:

To create this map, you’ll want to identify the common, recurring activities in your business. Examples of these might be:

  • Consultation calls
  • Kickoff calls
  • Off-boarding sessions
  • Creating YouTube videos
  • Reviewing social media captions

In our free one-hour strategy training, the Blueprint, we teach you how to define your processes simply. (You must know what’s not working to fix your processes, so I recommend you pause here and watch the Blueprint training first!)

Defined your processes already? Let’s move on to the improvement side of the equation!

3 questions you must ask yourself to identify broken processes

Question 1. Am I happy with the result?

Business owners and entrepreneurs tend not to be satisfied with the status quo, so this question can be tricky. You’ll want to look at each of your processes and ask yourself, “How happy am I with the end result?”

  • If you’re designing websites, how happy are you with how that end website looks?
  • If you’re making YouTube videos, how happy are you with how that final video looks?

Continue to ask yourself this question for each of your processes.

To organize the results of these questions, you’ll want to implement a ranking system. We suggested you use a points system from 1-5 to identify the strength of your output, with 1 being “Eh, there’s room for improvement.” and 5 being “This end result is amazing!”

📌 These results are subjective. When thinking of the end result, focus on value by asking yourself, “Are we providing enough value from this end result?”

Once you’ve identified which end results (outputs) are making you happy (and not so happy), let’s talk about inputs!

Question 2. Am I happy with the cost?

Now that we’ve evaluated the results of each process, let’s flip the script and evaluate the cost required to achieve those outcomes.

Before you start scoring away, let’s define what we mean by “cost.” Cost includes:

  • Financial
  • Time
  • Energy
  • Sanity
  • Anything else you’re giving up to achieve the end result, like delays, mistakes, or too much back and forth in the communication.

For this step in the journey, we’re going to use the same points system as before: on a scale of 1-5.  In this case, 1 will mean “Oh man, these costs are terrible!” and 5 being “These costs look great — what a deal!”

📌 If you have a team, consider including them in the ranking process if you’re unsure where things fall or need extra support.

For example, if I’m evaluating the cost of making YouTube videos, I’ll need to ask myself:

  • How happy am I with how long it takes to create one video?
  • How happy am I with how many resources it takes to make this video?
  • How happy am I with the support I receive during this process?

Once you’ve identified which inputs you’re happy and not so happy with, let’s move on to the next step in our process reflection journey: your gut feeling.

Question 3. What is my gut feeling?

Seasoned business owners, entrepreneurs, and leaders have likely developed gut instincts around what does and doesn’t work in their businesses. If something about the YouTube production process is bothering you, it may be for good reason!

For this step in identifying your broken processes, we will use our ranking system again. This time, 1 meaning “Hmm, something feels off…” and 5 being “My gut is telling me this process is fantastic!”

Time to calculate your process score and fix your processes!

Hopefully by now the question of “What processes do I need to work on?” isn’t as ominous. We’ve quantified our processes with our ranking system and 3 criteria questions. Now, it’s time to add it all up!

  • If you scored 5 in each of the 3 criteria for one process, that process would receive a score of 15/15 — good job on having such a solid process!
  • If you’re like us and view your business as a work in progress, some processes might rank lower on the scale (< 5/15). Lower scores are nothing to freak out about! These low scores provide insight into which processes are not working and must be fixed.

Now that you’ve identified which processes must be improved, it’s time to fix them! Keep in mind that the process improvement journey is an ongoing one! Once you’ve ingrained this process into your daily routine and it becomes a habit, you’ll start quickly identifying opportunities to fix your processes.

Whether you need to improve workflows, delegation, training, automation, or anything else — it all begins with identifying which processes are your top priority right now.

Oh! And one last thing. Don’t forget to enjoy the process of improving your processes! 😉

If you’re looking to systemize your operations, define your processes with action-oriented exercises, and equip them with SOPs, automations, delegation, and more — check out our FREE strategy training, The Blueprint, to learn more.

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ProcessDriven helps small teams turn chaos into process. The ProcessDriven Approach™️ combines software expertise with practical process-first strategies that have helped 1,600+ teams build a scalable foundation of business systems.