Let's put the people back into the process.

Over the past six months I have experienced a situation where I was referred from one person to another, told that something would happen in a timeframe…yet it didn’t, laughed at when I explained my situation and treated like a fly to be swotted by process-driven personnel.

I felt powerless, disrespected and hugely frustrated.

Thankfully, I can say this issue has now been resolved. :-)

Despite this, I also truely believe that in every difficult situation there is a learning.

One question (of many) that has arisen for me is:

“When might we be placing process over people?”

Within every system there are processes; some clearer than others. What I noticed from my experience was that no-one was willing to connect on a human level. Instead I was told “That’s not my department”, or “That’s the process”, or “That’s just the way it is”. It seemed that everyone hid behind process within a very complex system. It also seemed to be a case of the tail wagging the dog, not the dog wagging the tail. That is, process took precedence over people on all accounts.


As leaders we both create and operate-within complex systems. My questions for your consideration this week are:

  • Where might you use a process as an excuse for inaction?

  • When might you think or say “That’s not my problem?”

  • How might we create a culture where people feel empowered, rather than powerless?

  • When do you stand-up for the person over the process?

  • Where in your organisation might the tail be wagging the dog?

Look deeply, consider truthfully because the culture of your organisation depends on it.


Go well this week :-)

Ngā mihi Mary-Anne

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