Which Comes First--People or Process?

02. 12. 2014    |    posted by: Ralph Beck

Last month, I spoke to a group of business owners and CFOs. They had been reading Paid to Think by David Goldsmith, an in-depth book that helps you plan how to run a business. With such an ambitious goal, being critical is easy, yet Goldsmith provides incredibly powerful advice for any business owner or senior executive.
One theme that runs throughout and is popular with most clients—at least to talk about—is the need to think, to have perspective beyond the immediate, and to think things through. If done correctly, decisions made while working in the business support those made while working on the business. Goldsmith provides some good models for developing your decision making processes to make sure actions are well thought through.
Goldsmith and I part ways in how we value the power of people and culture. Part of our difference reflects a chicken or the egg dilemma—do you develop processes and then find the people, or develop processes around your people? His advice is to first develop the process, and then hire people who align with the process needs. Given an ideal situation, this would work wonderfully; however, this is a luxury and quite rare. In most cases, you already have the people, but you need new processes.

How you transition into new processes has a large impact on their success. By including your team and communicating with the people involved in the development of the new process, you can create momentum, inspiration, and ultimately, a more successful outcome. Future changes, even well thought out ones, will fuel weak support and weak execution if the people that make up the organization are not involved or aware of the purpose.
Align your people with the why, the what, and the how, and change can become a powerful tool.


Leave a comment