Being Process Driven Squeezes People Out #management #peopleskills

Being Process Driven Squeezes People Out & Away

Being Process Driven: Image is a pastry bag creating identical cookies.

Being Process Driven May Squeeze People Out Image by: Mike Bierschenk

Image by Mike Bierschenk via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Processes are filters that funnel what is acceptable and reject what isn’t. Many leaders and managers tout the benefits of being process driven. It facilitates metrics and reduces errors. It prevents chaos and increases consistency.

The Dark Side and Downside of Being Process Driven

But being process driven often makes process more important than people. It blocks engagement and the input of those who are creative, results driven, or relationship focused — i.e. not process driven.

This downside may be the downfall of your employee engagement efforts, customer satisfaction, and your business growth.

This downside is more likely to occur when …

  • Your personality type craves order and consistency
  • The organization’s culture is hierarchical, un-empowered and highly risk averse
  • You lead from metrics
  • Proving results is more important to you than engaging and improving

Prevent this downside from becoming your downfall!

  • Build emotionally intelligent processes. Being process driven can honor people’s input and diverse perspectives.
  • Moderate your need for control. Processes aren’t rigid; some people are. They rigidly enforce processes. Ease up on your need for control and you won’t squeeze others out.
  • Make process a flow rather than a constrictive funnel. As rivers flow they make twists and turns and the water still reaches the mouth.
  • Remember, that proving results need not stop change, growth, and improvement.

Being process driven can be deceptively comfortable. Consistency often feels better than change.

Yet being rigidly process driven is based on the risky assumption that nothing is changing around you. New business opportunities, evolving customer expectations, available talent, and cultural differences are just some of the changes that processes often shut out. Don’t let this happen to you.

Replace the comfort of “the process is” with the intelligence of “how does the process apply here?”

Follow Nordstrom’s Rule: Use best judgment in all situations!

What else must leaders & teams do to stay agile and inclusive?

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Persistence vs. Resistance to Change
Leaders, 5 Times When Logic Will Fail You

©2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.



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2 Responses to “Being Process Driven Squeezes People Out #management #peopleskills”

  1. ZMarx says:

    It is not clear on what processes this text refers to, because people are integral part of processes and are allowed to give their opinion regarding process improvement. And, for example, in service industry human factor is something that adds extra value to process success. Therefore, in serious process-driven companies human factor is already inevitable part of processes.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Zmarx,
      I wish I could agree that in the service industry human needs are considered. Unfortunately not universally true. In some of the great service orgs. like Ritz Carlton and Nordstrom’s, people and good judgment are considered. Bravo to them.

      Yet not so sure that both of those are process driven. Nordstrom’s primary rule is “Use good judgment” not strict adherence to process.

      What I’ve seen is that being heavily process driven can lead to adherence to process not consideration of the dynamic changes going on and adapting to them.

      In so many customer service environments, CSRs are required to read scripts and are dinged if they don’t. Inside companies, there are employees strictly adhering to processes instead of thinking through how the process may or may not apply to each situation.

      These scenarios were the inspiration for my post!

      Many thanks for offering such a great hope that someday human needs and input will always count.

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