Processes are a wonderful thing.
They can take mayhem, disorganization, lost time, and frustrated teams and turn them into highly efficient powerhouses. A great process not only creates clarity and ease within a team but also protects crucial elements like the quality of work, boundaries, and trust. But, as with all great things, great processes take time to hammer out. They likely aren’t perfect the first time around. They take tweaking, adjusting, and intentional consideration to develop.
When approached effectively, building a process can be a beautiful example of impactful team building and collaboration. The same is valid on the other end of the spectrum: when processes are developed ineffectively, they can result in dysfunction, frustration, and poor outcomes.
Whether your company has 5 or 500 employees, silos can significantly damage your organization. Teams with differing responsibilities are a given, but they don’t need to become silos. The more you allow teams to be walled off from one another, the easier it becomes for destructive processes to begin sneaking into your organization.
Extraordinary processes require collaboration, so your teams— especially your leaders—must be open to collaboration. Processes can only improve when the people involved are expected to question them, challenge them, and offer solutions.
Team review should be an expected part of the development when someone in your organization creates a process. There is nothing more effective at helping improve ideas than having to explain and defend them in a team discussion. It shouldn’t be an argumentative conversation but exploratory and curious in nature. When we question ourselves and open up to outside perspectives and critiques, we can discover holes in our reasoning that we missed or flaws in our assumptions that we haven’t thought of.
When creating systems, an outside perspective is a powerful tool; it empowers and creates ease. Even someone not playing a part in new processes can have valuable insight into how to improve them.
You’ve probably experienced processes that weren’t developed with ease of use in mind. Just think about the last time you had to go to the DMV, renew your passport, or apply for a Visa. The very word bureaucratic sends shivers down spines. The Oxford Dictionary defines bureaucratic as “relating to the business of running an organization, or government,” and “overly concerned with procedure at the expense of efficiency or common sense.”
The phrase “common sense” compounds the concept of community input and collaboration. It’s not the “individual sense” that we all value so highly—it’s the gathered intelligence of the community.
Perspective is constantly growing and changing, so by nature, the systems we build through community input should lack rigidity and can flex and bend as needs and circumstances change. If we allow individual perspectives within our organization to collaborate on finding solutions, challenge and investigate, and upend our ideas, we allow for developing bulletproof systems that serve us and our work.
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