Balancing of People and Process

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On January 26, 2012

As a leader, what’s more critical to the success of your business: people or process? While you could argue that people are always more important than anything else in your business, the fact of the matter is that you have to have good processes in place if you want to succeed.

Having good people in place—without good processes—is a recipe for failure. The problems might not show up right away. But if you’re looking to scale your business and grow it significantly, you’ve got to have good processes in place. If you don’t, your people will have to continuously reinvent the wheel. With the right processes, your great employees don’t have to spend time on things that should be automatic. What you really want is for them to spend their time on new ideas, being innovative and growing the company.

A key component in business success is consistency. It doesn’t sound very sexy, but it’s crucial. Customers like to deal with companies that consistently deliver quality. It keeps them coming back. Having the right processes in place helps to ensure that your customers have the same quality experience time after time.

But what about the “people” part of the equation? One of your challenges as a leader is to help your team understand what the processes are—and how they are intended to help them be more effective and engaged. Processes are not an end unto themselves. They aren’t holy writ. They’re not the law of the land. They are tools intended to empower your people and to free them up to do the really important tasks in your business.

Your job is to communicate that. How can you do it? One step you can take is to involve your team in creating the processes (rather than simply dictating them). As you do that, talk about how good processes can actually free them up to pursue the critical (and interesting) parts of the business. Another thing you can do is schedule periodic reviews of your processes to make sure that they’re working and that they’re not hindering your people.

You need to constantly be working on both your people and your processes. If you’d like help establishing processes and communicating them to your team, drop me a note. I’ve got some tools and ideas that can help you be more effective.