When you start as an entrepreneur, life is hard, but straightforward when it comes to getting things done: you and you alone are responsible. If the product needs a new price, you do it. It you need to update the packaging, you do it. It’s always you. If things go wrong, you are responsible. If things go great, it’s you who made it happen.
The larger organisations become, the more processes, governance structures and job descriptions with clear lines between what is job of person A and what is the job of person B. At some moment in time, you arrive at a situation where processes seem to define everything. “Computer says no” becomes a reality. What really is the issue is when people start believing that there is a process for everything because this implies that having an issue, opportunity, idea,… that can not be funnelled in an existing process… cannot exist. In the mind of people fallen into the ‘a process for everything’-trap, it is virtually impossible to grasp the fact that their might be an idea that does not follow the ‘processes’. It’s a bit like telling to a medieval family that the earth is round. It’s just beyond their way of thinking. To make things even more complex, there is probably a separate silo in the organisation that even is responsible for processes. They tend to be the one that guard the processes…
It’s clear that innovation or even being able to adapt to the changing market in an organisation as this is … well … just not imaginable.
Now imagine a new C-level executive, directly reporting to the CEO. (S)he has no direct reports, no teams, just an MOO-printed business card and carte blanche to investigate each process, follow on every lead (because every employee can send Kafka-like stuff or roadblocks to email@example.com) and force easier ways of working. He does not have to make a business case to change things, it’s the current process owner who is responsible for the business cases that proves that his current process is still the best).
What impact would this have on your organisation? Sounds like an interesting job to me!
Article also on Medium.