Recently I came across a Utah business magazine that listed the top 25 most influential people in Utah. Many of their biographies stated that the books which influenced their leadership style the most were Good to Great by Jim Collins and Execution by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan. Having read these books when they were first published, I went back and reviewed them to see how they applied to my current role as a business process manager. I found it interesting that Execution presents almost one-third of the book on three core processes:
- The people process
- The strategy process
- The operations process
Collins found alignment between disciplined people, thought, and action and introduced us to concepts such as level five leaderships; first who…then what; confront the brutal facts; hedgehog concept; culture of discipline; and technology accelerates. I found it interesting that he stated:
Good-to-great companies think differently about the role of technology. They never use technology as the primary means of igniting a transformation. Yet, paradoxically, they are pioneers in the application of carefully selected technologies. . . . Technology by itself is never a primary, root cause of either greatness or decline. (Page 13)
So what is this thing about processes, how does it apply to technology, and why are processes so important in our business? Processes and process improvement have been around for years. Fredrick Taylor and his scientific study of motion tracked, measured, and improved workers’ performance by studying a worker’s every motion and eliminating those that did not add value to the work task. Following World War II, Edward Deming introduced his 14 key management principles for transforming business effectiveness and applied this in Japan.
Within ICS, there is a core group of five business process managers that report to Joel Dehlin. Our mission as a department is to assist in improving organizational performance throughout the Church by improving processes. We have developed a methodology based upon our combined experience in process improvement that we believe will help the way departments function in the Church.
Each business process manager is aligned with an ICS portfolio and is part of the portfolio’s leadership team. When a need exists for a technology solution from a customer, we work with the program manager and the customer to analyze the existing business processes within the requesting department (the first step in Identify within PTS) and look for improvement opportunities. After a thorough analysis of the business processes, we provide the program manager with the business requirements necessary to develop a technology solution, based upon the department’s strategy. I’m currently working on mapping the integrated human resource process with a goal of developing business requirements in which an integrated technology solution can be identified and implemented. I’m also working to map the Perpetual Education Fund’s processes. Technology will not solve all performance problems, but we believe that any solution should be tied to the business’s processes and strategies.
In Rumler and Brache’s book, Improving Performance – Managing between the White Spaces, a model is presented which states that three areas need to be in alignment for organizational performance to work effectively. These are:
1. The organization’s vision, mission, strategy, and goals.
2. The work processes.
3. Job/Individual’s assignments or tasks.
We are currently working with ICS, Human Resources, Audiovisual, Family and Church History, Welfare, Finance and Records, and other departments to align the processes in these three areas.
If you would like more information about who we are working with or how we could help,
Collins, Jim (2001). Good to Great. New York: Harper Collins
Bossidy and Charan (2002). Execution. Crown Business
Rummler and Brache (1995). Improving Performance – How to Manage the White Space on the Organization Chart. Jossey-Bass
Mark McCashland is a business process manager for the Church.