There’s a great blog series written by Eryc Eyle that’s worth checking out. It’s all about being yourself at work, which is a positive shift that I have witnessed over the years that my career has spanned. Personally, I felt a weight come off my shoulders the day I stopped wearing a suit to work, and the persona that went with it.
I’m a firm believer that if you get the best out of your people, it’s much easier to get the best out of your business. A group of engaged, motivated, passionate people can achieve almost anything.
Which is why it pains me to see so many organisations still going through the motions of process improvement.
“Let’s get ISO9001 so we can convince the auditors that we’re doing quality.”
“Let’s hire a person with improvement in their job title, so they can improve us.”
“Let’s do a LEAN project. We need be LEAN. LEAN is better than SLIGHTLY PUDGY ROUND THE MIDDLE.”
Going through the motions of procedures manuals because it feels the right thing to do, and achieves the minimum compliance requirements, is not just a waste of time and effort. When you work for an organisation that makes you do stuff for the sake of doing it, for no real gain, it’s a culture killer plain and simple.
Many organisations today are trying a different approach, and turning improvement into a competitive advantage. And they aren’t spending much more than those that are going through the motions. But they have got some fundamentals in place, including:
- Leaders that believe in collaboration, innovation, improvement. They are seen to regularly, visibly support improvement efforts.
- Formal Process Governance. Roles and responsibilities spelled out, from top to bottom. Improvement is ‘owned’.
- Formal tools to manage and share business processes, to own them and track improvement.
What these organisations have realised is that when you gather any group of people - our natural tendency is to examine, collaborate, to challenge current ideas. Without realising it, we’ve been setting up blocks to these attitudes with our technical process charts and chapters of manuals written in a format and language foreign to the teams they are written for.
Just like the shift in workplace attitudes that Eric speaks to, we’re seeing a shift away from these old ways of procedures manuals and confusing process charts. We’re shifting toward a more personal, social approach to process sharing, ownership and improvement - because it works.
I explored this idea deeper in a recent webinar, where I examined why it’s still the norm to fail at business process improvements, and gave guidance on how to build a strong improvement culture.