Remember the old MC Hammer song, “U Can’t Touch This”? I realize I might be dating myself since some of you might know him better as the spokesperson for 3M Brand Command Strips. The reason I’m thinking about MC Hammer these days is because Mr. Bartender and I are in the process of moving. And the realtor helping us sell our home keeps coming in, rearranging our house, and telling us “don’t move this!” ha.ha.
I know our realtor is only doing her job. And we all want the same things. But it’s still frustrating. Today’s Time Well Spent cartoon from our friends at Kronos reminded me of those times when the same thing happens in a work context. The company builds a perfect process knowing its limits or gets a system organized, then makes the declaration, “Don’t touch it!” It seems counterintuitive.
It makes no sense to create a process that people can’t use. That’s the equivalent of creating a process for one employee. I’ve never understood creating company policies for the exceptions. Manage the exceptions and create policies that benefit everyone.
The real value of a process or system is in the way that it’s used. I believe organizations should create processes or systems to make employees lives easier (not more cumbersome). Now, easier doesn’t always mean fewer steps. It’s possible that the value of a process comes in extra steps but less repetition. Or more steps and less complaints.
Using a system or process can help keep it current.The more individuals use a process, the easier it can be to identify bottlenecks or breakdowns in the process. If employees don’t use a process for weeks or months and then have to use it, they may or may not immediately see the challenges.
Technology can make processes more user-friendly. If one of the reasons that the company is reluctant to let employees test the limits of their systems is because the systems are manual, consider adding technology. This can allow employees to feel comfortable working within systems knowing that they’re not going to mess it up.
Organizational systems and processes should be regularly monitored to make sure they are 1) doing what they’re supposed to and 2) remain current with the times. When processes need updating, managers can get employees involved. Employees can buy-into the system that they’re going to use daily. It’s a win for everyone.19