Process Driven or People Driven

In the current business scenario, to achieve success, Organizations must focus its resources on delivering the strategy as to meet their customers’ demands. The manner in which organizations are driven can be classified into two categories namely Process-driven and People-driven.

In a process-driven organization, the organization achieves its objectives of business by managing activities in a procedural way. The processes within that organization allow them to focus their teams’ efforts so that they deliver on their strategy, meet their customer needs, and win them new customers.

On the contrary, a people-driven organization relies heavily on individuals and the skills that they possess as the way of delivering on their business strategy. There are, however, numerous challenges for people-driven organizations.

Many entrepreneurs who belong to yesterday’s generation, still prefer to be people driven organization for the fear of losing control over their organization. However, a large chunk of organizations aim to be process-orientated as an ultimate way to create an organization. In all fairness, a process driven organization has certain advantages over a people driven organization. Many have tried to be a process-driven organization but failed because they have not truly understood what the concept means.

Almost all organizations, who want to be a process-driven one, believe that if they document their processes explicitly and provide it to their employees as a reference manual, then they are being process driven. Though documenting the processes and having them as a reference for induction is a good method, only documentation will not make an organization a process-driven one.

At the outset, all the processes which are generally documented are operating processes. This means that they are just processes which transforms inputs to outputs. Higher order processes such as control operations that ensure processes are being adhered as intended as well as processes those need to exchange information with the external environment and make decisions still largely remain people driven. This indicates that labourers’ job are streamlined, but all decisions are still constrained by the people approach.

A process driven organization has to be a learning organization. In the current days of exponential changes, learning has to be continuous. More than learning, unlearning is pivotal. Similarly, a process driven organization must have the ability to adapt to the changing environment. The process of adapting has to be quick and non-disruptive. This is possible with implementing a Change Management in the organization. Thus change management becomes the foundation stone for erecting the Excellence Pillars of an organization.

A process driven organization will have a process that monitors the environment on a regular basis. As to do so, one has to identify what needs to be measured and at what frequency. The strategies can be cascaded down across the tiers which will provide them a series of steps to be implemented as a process. Gemba-Cadence is the most important factor here. Monitoring and reviewing the processes will enable the teams to identify corrective actions in achieving their goals as chalked out in the roadmap.

A process driven organization should develop an ability to treat the problems as opportunities for improvement. To achieve this, everyone in the organization should be in a position to see the problems. As Taichi Ohno San said, “unable to identify a problem is the biggest problem.” Unless the problems are seen or identified, they will not be resolved. Slowly, the organization would adapt themselves to live with the problems. In other words, the Organization develops the skill of pushing-problems-under-the-carpet. Celebrating the problems is crucial.

Seeing the problems alone will not suffice. Once identified, the members should be able to resolve the problems too. It is not about problem solving but “Rapid-problem-solving”. The challenge, here again, is to develop a model where average people get involved in resolving the problems rapidly as to get above average results. Identifying problems and resolving them rapidly on a daily basis would enable developing the organization a culture of “rapid-problem-solving.”

A process driven organization has to sustain all the improvements that it make from time and again. In most of the organizations, improvements remain one-time-wonder. As to sustain the improvements made, standardization of 4M is vital. Initially, one has to develop 4M standards and after developing they should be visualized. Visualization of such standards not only facilitate Visual controls but also pave way for Visual Guarantee. Daily Accountability of team members easily enables process-driven organization.

To become a process driven organization, the organization has to build itself into a prople driven organization because it is the people who delivers the processes. Develop the people who develops the processes. A process driven organization should have the ability to handle the complexities arising out of growth.. As businesses grow larger, the number of rules increase and most of them become contradictory. Compartmentalization happens as business is divided into functions. Hence processes also have to ensure that they effectively manage such complexity to actually make a company less people driven and more process driven.

Systems can be easily replicated, but it is easier said than done Kaizen Institute India’s model of KAIZEN™ Change Management precisely addresses this. This model of Daily KAIZEN™, Leader KAIZEN™ and Support KAIZEN™ along with Breakthrough KAIZEN™ enables an organization transform into a Process-driven Organization.

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