Organisations often have something to guide them by, at times these are called as values, belief systems, way of working, agreed way of working, “the way we do it here”, you can take any of these approaches, but all of these will eventually end up taking you down one of the two only possible routes- either you are managing, striving for or struggling for a people centric organisation or a process centric organisation. This short read, we take a look at what this all means, and how it impacts us and what we can do about it, before we decide to join that dream job coming your way!So let’s roll!
Sure enough both these approaches have their own advantages and strengths, let’s not bother about weaknesses, because where strengths are, diametrically opposite end of it, you will find the weakness! If you are wondering even for a moment why does this matter- identifying whether a particular organisation is people centric or process centric, well hold your thoughts for now! By the time we finish this piece, I am sure you will be scampering to find some solace and once you know well, that you are aligned to, developing or contributing to one of these types, you will further appreciate why you are either a great fit or a misfit based on who “you” are and the type of organisation you have landed yourself in!
Fundamentally speaking, humans are always good at one of the two things- this, even as we have both the attributes- either we are good on the being creative and ingenious or we are great at doing repetitive and predictable tasks with great accuracy. Sure enough, we can do both and we end up doing both of these and everything that comes between these two extreme ends with varying degree of comfort, the fact however being that we all are naturally inclined to one thing over the other and when we find a workplace that reinforces our natural alignment to its work methodology- we excel at the function that we do and the contextual settings help us accelerate and excel as long as we continue to put in the required efforts!
If you take a short trip back into history and search for people who made a mark for themselves, name-fame -fortune, you will see a common thread, majority of them were mavericks- they ended up doing/creating things like no one had ever before, or their approach to run or govern a society was unlike anything ever before and their ability to think creatively, different;y, what is normally termed as “out-of-the-box” ended up creating our world the way it is today. Certainly this does not imply that those who continued to do routine functions are worthless, in fact they too are worth their weight in gold as they continually better the way they do things and create new benchmarks of doing the same thing over and over again with more finesse and sharpness! So what does this tell us? Well in a very simplistic manner it tells us that the ability to be innovative/creative, being able to set new ways and rules is one set that we have within us and the ability to better, develop something that’s already there by being at it-also called as perseverance- ensures that we create more value to something that already exists either by process or offering services-by doing what is meant to be done in a more refined and quality centric manner!
Typically organisations, which thrive on research , product development, innovation and new -age breakthroughs, creative pursuits lay heavy emphasis on the people that they have on board and that’s but an obvious choice! When you have people who are radically unique by way of their ability to think, collaborate, confront, debate and further a common idea- that’s the space where magic happens! Each individual will bring a new approach around a conventional problem at hand and that’s what will create pathways to developing/creating something unlike ever done before!- Certainly this approach is out rightly expensive and this route is normally deployed only when the odds are very high- typically when the solutions innovated/service provided have life-changing abilities or are able to influence people en-mass across regions and continents! Consider the world’s leading space exploration company- which has been at the forefront of space science ever since its inception- yes you got it NASA- what do you think they are hiring people for – following processes or for creating them afresh and leading humanity into a new frontier when it comes to space? Like NASA there are many more examples among different sectors wherein organisation have disrupted the way we go about our life through their products/services and this was possible because of the teams that they have had- the kind of people that they had onboard! This is how people centric organisations stand out and deliver! Needless to say this becomes possible only when the right people are onboard in the right contextual setting! This is how People centric organisations thrive and excel!
The other approach which has been equally successful and stood the test of time as well, is the approach wherein the Process is of vital importance. No this is different from red tapism and bureaucratic delays, this is more about following an established chain of command and staying within a span of control so that the whole unit works like a well oiled machinery and at any given time, even at a moment’s notice, the whole unit can align itself to increasing delivery pressures or adapt itself to meet the necessities of time! Sounds familiar, think you know a few of them, well yes you do, the defence forces, law enforcement agencies, medics, paramedics, you will find these instances even across various functions normally aligned to production of various goods and services, in the case of the manufacturing or world of services, you will come across the vital indicators like, well laid out clear structures, methodologies, process steps and communication channels which enable people to work individually or as teams to deliver what needs to be delivered under different conditions with no compromise on the quality of the finished product or service! This is where magic is created by being good at what is being done and doing what is being done in a better way each time it’s done!
Now you may be wondering, so why do organisations struggle all the time with n endless talent deficit! Why do we have organisations complaining about the quality of talent? The answer is deceptively simple! Organisations face challenges with talent when end up having onboard the wrong people for the right job! The problem is not of the people- the problem lies with the expectations placed on the people- who are basically not who you are really looking out for! Consider, you are a manufacturing firm and want to hire some kick ass engineers to supervise the forging unit- well things will work out for you as long as you are hiring an engineer with an orientation to follow rules, process and someone who believes in creating incremental changes by being in the system over a period of time, now instead of this if you end up hiring an eccentric innovator- he will start by stripping down every process and every work flow that you have ever built over the years with a single objective of simplifying and doing the things the way he would like to because that’s what his core intrinsic approach and belief system is- to create and construct something new!
None of them are right or wrong, neither the individuals nor the organisations, it is all about being wise and sane enough to know what you are hiring for- knowing what is that your organisation stands for and being able to decipher well , who are the people – that will be able to align themselves to the aspects of the business! Once you have the right type of people aligned to the right needs of the business, you have created enough space for both of them to grow and excel! If you are a process centric organisation hire people who are aligned to the way of the process centric environs, if you are an organisation that thrives on innovation and individual greatness, build an empire which celebrates individuality and also rewards collaboration, that’s how you will be able to excel in that space!
The choice, of whether to develop a people centric organisation or a process centric one should always resonate with the core requirements of the business and importantly this is something that should be loud and clear- visible through way of working and communication, so that even people who wish to embark on the journey with you are able to appreciate if they have boarded the right flight and look forward to the journey with equal enthusiasm as much as they have for the destination that lies ahead! More often than not you will come across organisations which are part process centric and part people cntric- when you are around that kind of a hybrid space- what really matters is having the right people at the right places for doing the right things!
I will leave you here for now, to reflect and think, what are you, a process person, or a creative wizard, what is the organisation that you are working for- people cntric or process centric, and what type of organisation will you like to build, if you ever want to build one! Keep thinking for now!
Ciao for now, I will come back soon with another article soon! Until then, knowing yourself create value in what you, by doing it the way you do it!