I often wonder what it is about processes that many managers have a need to see as entirely separate from their people.
Similarly to my previously documented thoughts regarding the key differences between leaders and managers, the ‘need’ to focus solely on the process is often due to the conscious or unconscious decision to concentrate time and energy on the simpler or more controllable part of the equation. Unfortunately for those leaders with this mindset, unless you are in a pure process driven environment (which is rarer than many people think unless/until robots take over our world!), this leaves out the core reason why
these processes often fail – a focus on our people!
The ability to bring individuals and team members into the process is key to project success or meaningful outcomes. Engaging the people and teams involved, communicating the context and being specific about why the process exists or change is required, will often be the deciding factor between process success and failure. Rarely will a process in itself be the difference – it requires input, management and control of and with your people.
If we are not clear about what role our team member’s play in the overall project then the entire process change will likely fail.
This is a regular occurrence within the project and business world, where much of the planning and time is dedicated to setting up the ‘right’ program and lean elements that will provide the most effective structure or process. It is too often assumed that with cursory levels of communication and a base understanding that employees will simply fall into line and grasp the key elements.
These core elements may well be understood however buy-in, context and discretionary effort are almost always limited or compromised when an individual does not participate in the early project planning cycle and/or has little ownership or accountability into inputs or outcomes.
Interestingly, during the post-implementation discussions and review some managers often look back at these (failed!!?) outcomes and wonder why the process failed, without even considering the broader picture and what part their decisions and narrow focus initially may have contributed.
Effective leaders ensure that they seek to understand both the planned outcomes and how their people are going to influence and drive all of the elements within the process to achieve that outcome. This type of thinking provides a more solid platform to ultimate success.
Often the phases and stages are not clearly distinguishable…so, thinking of people and process as intertwined but with different inputs may assist in removing the barriers for change.
Our people are the all-encompassing link that will ensure true success and sustained change!