July 29, 2007

Well-designed processes are an integral part of an efficient and effective organization. But just having processes is not enough. Many a time, the processes are there but are flawed thereby crippling the organization. The key lies in having well-designed processes that enhance the quality of output in the organization.

The problem arises when processes become the end rather than means to an end. For ensuring the smooth running of organization with absolute effectiveness, it is vital that processes play an enabling role and act like a catalyst. Simplicity is another key aspect of good processes. But more often than not, we encounter processes that are complex and disabling in nature. Instead of simplifying things and increasing efficiency and effectiveness, they complicate things to the extent of achieving the exact opposite of their objective.

One of the reasons that I have noticed for processes turning into disabling agents is the desire of managers to over-simplify things to control everything. But inadvertently, the over-simplification leads to over-complication. Breaking matter into atomic units is not simple yet it is a simplification procedure. Similarly, in an organization over simplification leads to complexity. In reality, it is foolhardy to try to simplify everything to its basic unit. Not only it is impractical, but it is a sure shot sign of disaster. Running an organization is not based on a mathematical formula where two plus two is always 4! And one should not try to develop a mathematical formula to run an organization because running an organization is a combination of reason, emotion, and judgment. Due to the inherent nature of organization, there will always be certain degree of uncertainty and complexity. Beyond a point, all efforts towards simplification will lead to more complexity. So, it is important to know when to stop.

I feel the key to designing enabling and simple processes is to understand that processes are not meant to control things; rather they are tools to help organizations achieve their objectives effectively. Once there is this understanding, the desire to over-simplify things would give way to designing processes to align them with business objectives and people element. And that would liberate organizations to spread their wings and fly!


  1. Renie // August 18, 2007 at 8:19 PM  

    Hi Krishna, please add your blog to our new directory of Indian Blogs, thanks!