Nowadays, the environment of many companies is created not only by its processes and goals but also by internal politics. Despite the fact that this model has been described in more recent research as sub-ideal and also as a mark of failing organizational processes, conflicting needs will be prevalent wherever humans work.
And the complexity of today’s world is not helping organizations to ease navigating in these environments at all. Leading was never easy in the first place, even back in the day, when the main concern could have been focused on productivity and expanding.
These days, however, there is also a myriad of other aspects to consider – more dynamic, political, environmental, technological advances and disruptions, to name just a few. The role of leading organizations thus became harder than ever.
Since leadership isn’t only a reflection of one person, it has to be reflected in organizational processes as well. And when processes can’t focus on just one simple criterion, but many others, it can start to be difficult to decide how to move such processes forward.
This problem may not even be easily identifiable, especially in larger organizations. Think about decision making for instance. Someone would rather focus the decision-making process on accuracy in general, others would rather go for the process leading to the most creative alternatives, someone else would prefer to include multiple views, etc. There is rarely only one right answer, and even after identifying the problem, it can take a lot of work to figure out how to approach the process in the right way.
What usually happens is what was described in the previous article. Often only one goal or achievement is prioritized, however other possible achievements are not even considered. We focused lately on how this approach can be ruinous in case of ignoring human/employee perspectives in processes as a human approach is what creates a greater part of an organization and its culture.
WHEN EVERYTHING IS IMPORTANT
The holistic nature of such complex areas makes it difficult but still attainable in some areas. What to do, however, when the process itself cannot be broken down that easily?
A good example could be the Strategic Decision Making Process. When creating a decision-making process or tools that should help managers in that process, what should it be focused on? Should it make the manager’s decision as easy as possible, should the focus be on the user’s comfort, the accuracy of data or enough unrestricted space to come up with creative solutions?
Each of them brings its own advantages and disadvantages:
- Ease of decision will make the process quicker but might make decisions too narrow and rob users of space to improve and be an independent agent-creating feeling of being ‘cog in the machine’.
- Accuracy can theoretically lead to the most realistic decisions but might overwhelm the decision-maker when too many factors come to play.
- Creativity in decision making might lead to new and innovative ways to seize opportunities but may make analysis and decision process lengthy and too reliant on a skilled decision-maker, not being suitable for newcomers.
This phenomenon doesn’t have a clear answer. However, without even considering these dimensions, companies will go blindly without deciding what is really important to them, letting chance dictate how processes will be designed and what aspects will they lead to.
Case study of Brazilian Shipment Company ALL showed that even elementary but deliberate rules, focused on a general idea can have the power to transform an organization and drive more purposeful results. These rules must be – as mentioned – deliberate and considered holistically. This is not a simple task to resolve, but in face of growing complexity in almost all areas, there is not way companies can ignore it, without much risk.