Organizational Culture: People vs Process
A common trend we see with businesses is the emphasis on streamlining processes and making quality improvements in how processes are developed and how they flow.
As new initiatives in the manufacturing service sector of our economy grow, there have been a lot of emphasis on process re-engineering, lean manufacturing and many other quality improvements in terms of how processes are developed and how they flow.
All of these initiatives are effective, essential components of developing your business. However, what oftentimes is overlooked or not taken into account is how well people fit into those processes.
People vs Process World
In business, we have a tendency to view our practices as black or white. We either focus on the development of people within the business or at the process development of the business without integrating the two.
For example, the values of a business have to be removed from the wall and instead, placed within the hearts of people. The values that drive and operate the business as documented in books like Good to Great and Built to Last are essential for the well-being and movement of the organization. Those values have to be embedded into the processes that drive and run the organization. However, we operate in an either/or kind of category as opposed to an integrated approach to how we’re going to revitalize our business.
An integrated approach understands that leadership and people development is essential but can’t be separate from the process development in the organization. A lot of organizations have done a great job developing their processes, have created lean manufacturing environments, and have used a number of methodologies to get their processes honed down with very good success. However, sustaining that success over the long haul requires that the people be developed along with the process in a methodology that is consistent with the organization’s true driving values.
Questions that each organization should have are:
- What is the true driving value proposition that makes our operation successful? How is that value proposition portrayed to our customer and how is it embedded in all of our processes?
- How does leadership portray and operationalize the values that are critical to the success of the organization? Are those values consistently or inconsistently displayed to the customer and to the organization?
- How do the values in that value proposition match the people development side of our business and the process development side of our business? Are they interrelated or are they disconnected?
Most organizations have values that are put on the wall, but not lived. Most organizations have developed skill sets and process improvement and process development. Most organizations do not have well defined people development processes that build teams and build the morale of the organizations through the people. Lastly, most organizations who have one or the other of the above mentioned things have not integrated the two into one process.
It’s essential and critical in this transformational age of business development that the people side and the process side become married into one overriding direction that empowers and drives the organization forward.