There’s an ancient story in one of the books in the Bible – the Acts of the Apostles. Chapter 9 tells of the conversion to Christianity of Saul of Tarsus, later known as the Apostle Paul, while travelling to Damascus to persecute Christians. From that story we get the terms ‘Damascus moment’ or ‘The road to Damascus’.
Using this analogy, let me tell you a little about five signposts on the process and systems road that might provide you with a Damascus moment. Before, I do, however, let me tell you about something that is not often signposted.
It’s so very easy to get lost and make complex processes and systems. Having worked in large organizations, I see a lot of complexity and a lot of transformation programs. Some of these were changing from complex to more complex processes and supporting systems. Other changes were from ultra-complex to more simple arrangements. Both have their challenges, but to me the word COMPLEX evokes undesirable attributes like:
■ Complicated ■ Overloaded ■ Multiplicity ■ Prolonged ■ Loose ■ Expensive ■ eXasperating
Lets now look at the five signposts.
Simplicity is the first signpost on the road to better processes and systems. I see SIMPLE as being:
■ Straightforward ■ Intuitive ■ Manageable ■ Purposeful ■ Lean ■ Easy
What is your idea of SIMPLE?
Standardization is the second signpost. It’s interesting to note that the simpler an organization or a process becomes, the easier it is to adopt standard modes of operation. I see a STANDARD way of doing things as being:
■ Staple ■ Typical ■ Accepted ■ Normal ■ Definitive ■ Authoritative ■ Recognized ■ Disciplined
What is your idea of STANDARD?
Integration is one of the most important signposts. Once you have a simple and standard way of doing things, it is far easier to integrate. INTEGRATE, to me, means:
■ Interrelated ■ iNsight ■ Traceable ■ Efficient ■ Group-wide ■ Robust ■ Accurate ■ Timely ■ Effective
What does INTEGRATE mean to you?
Collaboration with peers across the organization is a critical signpost. Effective collaboration is an important part of change management and even day to day operations. COLLABORATION enables us to:
■ Communicate ■ One ■ Leverage ■ Agree ■ Buy-in ■ Organize ■ Review ■ Awareness ■ Team ■ Educate
What does COLLABORATE mean to you?
The fifth signpost that you should not ignore is the achievement of understanding across the enterprise. You can SIMPLIFY, STANDARDIZE, INTEGRATE and COLLABORATE, but if you do not achieve organizational UNDERSTANDING – you have failed.
UNDERSTANDING makes things:
■ Unambiguous ■ kNown ■ Digestible ■ Explained ■ Relatable ■ Sensitive ■ Transparent ■ A-ha ■ Necessary ■ Discerning ■ Informed ■ Navigable ■ Got it
What is your idea of the importance of UNDERSTANDING?
In summary, in process and systems development, there are at least five signposts that organizations can follow or ignore. Follow them and you will most likely get to your destination. Ignore them and you may spend many years lost and crying in the wilderness.