The management religion of PROCESS re-engineering has led to the rationale of splitting “front office” from "back office" functions with the outsourcing and off-shoring of "non core" functions.
Yet the overall quality of customer experience and employee satisfaction for many the services treated in this way have become worse - and overall costs have actually increased!
We need a new management paradigm that enahnces the best of process but promotes a new, simple idea of "service in the moment" - or PRESENCE.
The Obsession with Process
The management religion of PROCESS re-engineering has led to the rationale of splitting “front office” from "back office" functions and outsourcing and off-shoring.
Whilst this has allowed the movement of labour to apparently lower-cost countries, the overall quality of many services has actually reduced over the past ten years and costs have not gone down, but increased.
Many large telecoms companies demonstrate this - and it is no coincidence that Scott Adams (the originator of the famous caroon Dilbert) worked for a large US telecoms company for a while.
We might laugh at the humour of it, but processes have become the currency of management measurement and success - as well as the ridicule of those condemned to work the processes themselves. Senior managers and executives in many of these types of companies keep their jobs by adding more and more protective processes - adding time and hassle to the customer rather than fix their problems first time.
Some specific recent case studies have been documented at: http://lornemitchell.com/blog/?p=645
To be clear, Process still has its place. But we need to find a stronger, more powerful super-ordinate organising idea which we believe is missing from the more traditional Process-centric management thinking. Question is - what is it?
The authors further define two types of dysfunctional caetextic behaviour - left-brained caetextia and right-brained caetextia - which can be further extended to organisations. More information on this idea can be found at: http://lornemitchell.com/blog/?p=38
We therefore believe that the essential problem we are trying to address is one of two types of context blindness that affect organisations:
Process Caetextia - where people follow a process religiously without the tools or the ambition to solve the problem in the now, and
Rebuild management's philosophical foundations
We need a new management paradigm that promotes service "in the moment" where the correct information, people and processes are brought together to address specific business problems and respond to customers, suppliers and internal employees "in the moment", not finding excuses to hand-off to another process! After all, Presence is the foundation of all religions. It is time to bring the essence of the world's greatest religions into the world of business so that we can solve our current challenges more quickly and more effectively than we are at the moment.
Transcend traditional trade-offs
This approach can be described simply by promoting "Presence over Process". We believe that it transforms the way that companies are designed and organised. Front Office joins Back Office. Work is relocated to be close to the need - not off-shored to add cost.
The traditional trade-offs of costs v. process need to be replaced by this new paradigm - however uncomfortable that is for the supply-side of the "service-by-process" industry. Process aggregation and the removal of financial accountability from the point of presence is one of the main reasons why the financial crisis has happened. The whole design of large companies is being challenged by this new way of thinking.
Focus the work of management on a higher purpose
We, at Objective Designers, have developed a simple matrix for service improvement that brings sharp focus on processes are not working and helps to streamline organisations to become more present in finding flow.