Leadership: The Importance of Process Engineering

The October issue of the Harvard Business Review has a great article regarding failed organizational training programs that cost U.S. businesses billions each year. One of the most important aspects of any organization are employees and their perception of their work environment where most if not all training programs are set to fail simply because the training programs do not take in account employee fit, form, and function. In other words, as employees are the "users" of the organization as I like to put it, excluding employees in the development of better processes, better systems of operations, and more efficient ways of doing business is simply telling employees they are just not important enough. What do you think happens next? Correct - rejection of new processes.

When we look at organizations most of us see employees which is wrong. Employees are humans and humans have basic behaviorial aspects to them that can make or break a process or system. In the HBR article, it talks about how most employees go back to their old ways after training programs fail to lead them correctly. The failure here is not the employee or the organization it is in fact the failure of the organization properly defining training objectives. In other words, when organizations look for training programs to create and develop leaders from the current body of employees, the training program does exactly that - train from what is there. What should happen is that the organization should have identified its compnay goals and build a list of functional processes that are negatively impacting the organization being able to achieve those goals. From there, a more comprehensive training program can be devleoped once processes are realigned within the organization. The best part about this strategy other than it works and we can prove it because we have done it many many times, is that employees are tasked to participate thus creating what I call stikyness. This stickyness is created because the employees developed the new processes and now employees own it. Simple math folks.

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