So here I am sitting on a train working away with half an ear on the guy opposite me. I’ve heard every business buzz word possible so far, from BAU (Business as Usual) to CR (Change Request), but one thing strikes me loud and clear, I never want our business to become as inefficiently architected as his.
He’s suited, got his 5 year old IBM Thinkpad with PCMCIA 3G card (Yes, I haven’t seen anything other than a USB one in a while either) and clearly works for a systems integrator as a project manager, on the way to his next meeting.
The driver for my post is simply the reminder of the political farce that some companies create for themselves. He’s been on his mobile for a good hour of the train journey quite literally discussing with his conference call attendees how they are going to tackle their internal procedure to get things done. How they can insert the project request as a BAU “type” so it will get priority. How they might not get away with that, but “Bill” could slip it into another project as a “CR”.
It’s just a ridiculous state of affairs when a company puts so much process and policy into place that its employees (several of them) hold conference calls to buck their own process and policy; the same “P&P” they put in place to make themselves efficient and faultless. How much is this call costing the company in people time, conference call bridges, 3G connections, let alone the actions they will each take as they set about cheating the system to be able to deliver their set objectives, no doubt offsetting someone else’s along the way with their lies about what they are actually doing!
Employees need to be empowered, they need to be able to make decisions AND mistakes in making their decisions They need to know that when they make mistakes their manager will support them and when they make simply brilliant decisions he will no doubt take some of the credit! He will have had a hand in their decision – as a good manager running his team, knowledgeable about what they are all up to, driving their projects in the first place.
Process and Policy sometimes simply gets put into place to depower individuals, centralise tasks and make up for poor management – often for the worse.
Employees (Like the one in front of me) will simply waste company resources trying to step around the process. I can never recall which one it is, but one of the “Big 3” management consultancy firms has an informal phrase with their employees – “up or out”. That’s surely the better process, hire staff that drive the goal, empower themselves/others and get things done in the old fashioned, sensible, democratic and entrepreneurial environment of an exciting business they love to work at.
What do you think?