Sustaining Process Progress Takes Discipline

Alot of work goes into refined and re-engineered workflow and business process. Nothing irks me more than to find that an organization wasn’t able to sustain their progress weeks and months later. That tells me that one of several things was wrong to begin with:

  1. the organization is lacking strategic direction
  2. the leadership team is flimsy
  3. the process wasn’t as important as once thought
  4. the organization lacks governance
  5. the organization is flying blind by virtue of missing key performance indicators
  6. all of the above

Of course, the other possibility is that the process is no longer necessary by virtue of having replaced it altogther or fasrmed it out to a contractor.

Sustainability and Governance

Governance is about organization, methodology, rules, structure and policy. It can be dictatorial and it can be democratic. It can be flat, circular, or shaped like a traditional pyramid. Whatever shape it takes, governance is crucial to running an organization – particularly a process-driven organization. There must be rewards and consequences, enforced rules, an order, lines of communication and actions taken.

Sustaining process change requires some form of governance. Somebody needs to be watching if progress is going to be sustained. Rewards need to be in place as do consequences. Anything short of this is laziness and ineffective leadership.

Measure, Monitor and Reward Process Progress

If you want to sustain progress, you have to know it’s actually happening. Pick simple measures if you can. Not too many either. Everyone up and down the line understands what is measured and why. Everyone regularly sees the metrics (key performance indicators) and can appreciate how they are strategic. Reward what you want from people. I have seen progress wither only because leadership failed to reward what it expected from people. Everything else was in place but the motivation. Rewards vary. Talk to your people to understand what kinds of rewards will motivate them.

This is especially true in an environment where talent is growing scarce and unemployment rates are at all-time lows. People choose to work in your organization. Failure to properly motivate innovation, compliance and performance is a tragic error when you make the decision to become a process and metric-driven organization.

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