Friday, January 13, 2012

Are you losing your mind to processes?

“I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.” -Vincent van Gogh

It is obvious, in this quote, that van Gogh was losing his mind to his unrelenting commitment to his work. Read this from a Service Management perspective, however, and it reads differently. This is what I read:

“I put my heart and my soul into my work,  but now have lost my mind to these processes.”

I come from a process background. As a former security consultant I lived and died for processes. As a Service Manager I have seen that processes are a double edged sword. Sure, having great processes gives you uniformity, consistency and repeatability. I understand that and that is why I continue to push for better processes. But, how is it that our best customer service experiences have come in instances where the process wasn't followed? 

Process needs to be kept in check. Consider the following:
  1. Your processes should allow and encourage your desired end-state. 
  2. Your staff should understand why the processes are important.
  3. Your staff should have your support to make exceptions to the process where necessary.
The criteria for defining reasonable exception cases depends entirely on your business requirements and the process in question. Some processes have much less tolerance for exceptions. If you have good staff, and they understand the parameters they need to work in, they will tend to make reasonable choices. 

Empower your staff to make good decisions. Empower them to give exceptional service to your clients. 

This all sounds easy, making this work in the real world is what makes our lives interesting.

What do you think makes a successful process? Please comment below.

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