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The Sweet Spot - People v Process

The Sweet Spot - People v Process

Jun 2016

Have you ever wondered; how your team member remembered to bring their lunch to work, but forgot to bring their brain? Have you ever invested huge amounts of time, energy and resource into a team member only to be burnt by them?

It can be so frustrating when our key team members let us down or make mistakes. But, we usually fix the problem, so that it never happens again, by creating a clever process. Yet, as time goes by we become exhausted from poking and prodding our team members to think and show some initiative. So, we develop another clever initiative, another process to help our team members think creatively. And so the cycle continues, building process upon process, but not achieving positive improvements.

For organisations and teams to be successful they need both people and processes. They go hand in hand. This relationship can be described as a continuum. At one end, a system totally dependent upon its people without any real process. At the other end, a system driven by process in which the people must adhere to all the rules. Both have advantages and limitations.

As leaders, the challenge is finding the right balance between people dependency and process dependency. Finding this sweet spot will enable our organisations and teams to build sustained long term success.

Parenting gives us a great way to understand this continuum and how to find the balance. Yes, parenting can help us. If you are not a parent, consider your own upbringing. Raising children constantly demands the parent to either develop rules that must be followed or to provide guidelines and feedback regarding your child’s recent behaviour. Over the course of a child’s life parents will adopt different approaches for different situations. Parents struggle to get the balance right, but when they do – it is beautiful!

Image what type of parent you would be (or are). What is your default position? Would you prefer developing rules that must be followed – process dependency? Or, would you prefer providing guidelines and feedback – people dependency? Every situation will require a different mix of both.

Our organisational and team environments are no different. They need the right mix of people and process dependency. When a team member next disappoints you, like a parent, you can take time to choose the best combination of rules, guidelines and feedback. The hope is that finding this balance will lead your organisation or team towards sustained long term success.

At Joseph Consulting we don’t offer parenting advice, but we do work closely with leaders to help them discover the best people and process balance. Please call us if you would like to discuss some of your current team frustrations and hopes.

 

Jason Gallagher
Director

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