How do you react when something goes wrong?
- Posted by J. Nirdosh Reddy
- On October 29, 2021
- BPM Concepts
Read the riot act? Blame somebody? Punish somebody so that everybody gets the message about your displeasure?
In management, we always have good intentions. So, intentions are not under question. What are the consequences of our actions and do our actions help or hurt competitiveness of the enterprise? What we did in the past may no longer be valid today. As discussed in an earlier post on ‘Results come from processes’, a paradigm shift is underway from managing people to managing processes through people.
Consequences of styles of management
In the conventional style, we believed that people produce output, so we managed people. When something went wrong, we asked who did it; found the guilty party (the person we thought was guilty); blamed that person; and perhaps meted out some punishment. The intent is to send a clear message to all the employees to be careful. This solves only about 10% of problems.
In the emerging style, we believe that processes produce output, so we manage processes. When something goes wrong, we are advised to ask what in the process broke down, not ‘who did it’. Process failures account for about 90% of the problems. Therefore, addressing them would result in significantly better performance.
Putting process management into practice
How do we put it into practice? Asking ‘what in the process broke down’ is good as a concept but too general to implement. So, one of my clients, Steve Glaza, expanded the one question ‘where did the process breakdown?’ into 4 questions as shown in the figure below.
Step 1 – Is the process defined?
- Look at the place where the problem occurred. Ask whether the process, where the activity is performed, is defined in simple, easy to understand manner with flowcharts.
- If that process is not defined, involve appropriate people and define the process.
- If the process has already been defined, go to step 2.
Step 2 – is the process correct?
- Review the process and ascertain whether it is correct – is there data to show that if the process is followed, it delivers the desired result.
- If it is, go to step 3.
- If the process that is defined is not capable of delivering the desired results, then take up an improvement project and improve (modify) the process.
Step 3 – Is the person trained?
- We are at this step because the process where the problem occurred is ‘defined’ and is ‘correct’. Now, ask whether the person who was involved in this process is trained to operate this process.
- If the person is trained, go to step 4.
- If the person is not trained, train the person and investigate why an untrained person was put on the job.
Step 4 – Is retraining required?
- When was the person trained? Is any retraining necessary?
- If retraining is necessary, provide retraining.
- If retraining is not necessary, consider what type of disciplinary actions may be appropriate.
Over 90% of the problems you experience would be solved by these 4 steps. Personnel intervention is only needed about 10% of the time.
- You get consistently better results
- You utilize more potential of your employees
- Morale is better
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