Which came first, the chicken or the egg? The chicken, no the egg, no the chicken, no the egg. It’s enough to make your head spin right off your neck. We’ve all been through the logic; most of us end up at the same place. As Luna Lovegood, the dreamy yet dotty witch from Harry Potter put it when asked the riddle, “a circle has no beginning.” And indeed, attempting to identify the first case of a circular cause and consequence is an exercise in utter futility. For those who don’t have a pat story involving a divine being who spits out perfectly formed species, it’s a no-win situation. But that doesn’t stop us from asking.
I often engage in conversation, or even debate with clients, which comes first, the People or the Processes? This much occurring debate centers around how much focus should an organization pay towards processes and when. The next part of the conversation centers around what comes first, the processes or people?
While I believe there is no definitive answer to this debate, I certainly have my feelings. We clearly know that the people element is a key ingredient in a successful process implementation strategy at any level. It is therefore; very important to have a buy-in from people for any process initiative which an organization plans to implement.
We also know that an organization cannot just design a process and hope that it will get implemented successfully. In fact; people who are part of a current process, if one exists are the best people to come up with suggestions and improvements of existing processes. This not only results in better ideas, but also ensures that the people involved will typically have a higher level of committed to it and will want to see it succeed.
Process implementation is not a onetime activity. It needs to be monitored continuously in order to ensure that it meets the needs of the organization and its people. While I feel the subject matter is very subjective, I tend to suggest to my clients that good people need to be supported by good processes. I therefore believe in having basic processes in place before the people. In most organizations I engage with that luxury does not exist and therefore becomes a delegate balancing act of what we call ‘process improvement’ or ‘process implementation’.
So in the the end, the answer to the people or process question is probably “both” for most organizations. People Matter; Process Matters. Talented people can be hobbled by poor processes; hesitant people can be uplifted by smart processes. In the best of all possible worlds, extraordinary people pursue innovative ideas through processes that are perfectly suited to their talents. In the real world, less-than-perfect people are wise to use all the help they can get.
What are your thoughts on the subject matter? Please comment-
About the author; Steven Cohen is a Landscape Industry SME and Chief Innovation Officer at GreenMark Consulting Group; a Landscape-Snow Industry Business-Consulting/Advisory firm that specializes in helping small-medium sized growth oriented companies. You can reach Steven Cohen by phone at 610.905.3637. Email Steven at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.greenmarkgroup.com to learn more about our services.
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