There is a line from the movie Heartbreak Hill where Clint Eastwood – Gunny – tells his Marine recruits they must learn to improvise, adapt, and overcome. Interestingly, many businesses have and still today, follow this basic principle in their business processes, without knowing it. A challenge arises in getting the job done. Someone figures out a way to make it happen, and the job is complete. In many cases, this becomes the way it will get done going forward, as many processes were and are developed out of an unexpected need.
While the approach presented in the movie works for many situations, in business the initial process management mantra should be plan, adapt, and automate. Businesses should plan how they want to transact business, interact with each other and customers, and continually improve their workflows in an effort to deliver an outstanding customer experience. Once everything is in place, the power to adapt and overcome operational obstacles can be placed in the hands of those who do the work and need to react at that moment in time. User modifiable process automation, is one aspect of change and flexibility that allows decisions and changes to be made when change is needed.
In My View
Both approaches I mentioned here are applicable to business, it is just the order in which they take place that needs some attention. In an ideal world business processes would follow the plan, adapt, and automate approach to design, implement the workflow, and automate where possible. This would be followed by the use of user modifiable process automation where the power to improvise, adapt, and overcome a business challenge is put in the hands of those doing the work.
I know this sounds simple, and to some unrealistic, but the point is that many businesses have not taken time to define and design their business processes, they let things unfold, and adopted the means to reach an end result as the way to operate going forward. Don’t let this happen to you. If you are looking at new processes, take time to think it through and for those already in place, take time to review, refine, and modify them intentionally, not serendipitously.
Bob Larrivee is a recognized expert in the application of advanced technologies and process improvement to solve business problems and enhance business operations. In his career, Bob has led many projects and authored hundreds of eBooks, Industry Reports, Blogs, Articles, and Infographics. In addition, he has served as host and guest Subject Matter Expert on a wide variety of Webinars, Podcasts, Virtual Events, and lectured at in-person seminars and conferences around the globe.