Published Date: 07/21/2014
By Linda Taylor
Challenge the Process is the practice of business growth. It’s about finding new and better ways of working. We often hear it said that if we cannot change and adapt, we may not survive. How could we possibly be competitive today if we still conducted business the way we did just a few short years ago?
You’ve heard the axiom about working smarter, not harder. How does this apply to Challenge the Process? Can we really get our work teams and colleagues to venture into uncharted waters, especially when we’ve been rewarding people for doing things in a particular way? Let’s face it; many of us like to do things the same way once we’ve learned how. The prospect of having to change to a new process or re-learn an existing process can be daunting even if it provides superior results. Some of us have to be coaxed along until we are sure the new method is really going to “stick.”
As employers, we must be certain we are providing a forum for new ideas and really hearing them out, particularly when they come from people new to the organization. Sometimes we hire people for their fresh perspectives and then destroy their creativity by stressing how business is conducted in OUR environment. We tell them their ideas have been tried before. In addition to demoralizing people, we discourage innovation to our own peril.
Think of all the new ideas and inventions that have taken place in your lifetime:
- phone apps that can lock your home and turn on the air conditioning;
- cars that sense obstacles and apply the brakes before the driver becomes aware;
- formerly major invasive surgeries that can now be performed without a scalpel;
- electric stimulus devices that help paralyzed people become mobile again;
- weather alerts that follow you no matter where you go;
- cameras installed in vehicles that can capture the last 20 seconds before a crash to help investigators determine the cause; and
- music apps that can identify a song, its artist and where to purchase it just by “listening” to the sounds it hears in the background.
None of these improvements to our quality of life and business happened without experimentation. So, in order to encourage creativity, we must allow our employees to take risks, make mistakes and learn from them. Providing a safe environment in which to experiment is the first step. At CAI, we are making “small bets” to try out new ideas. Some will have a minor impact and others will change the way we deliver HR services and advice. How are YOU challenging your processes?
Learn more about the importance of challenging the process during our Leadership Challenge® Workshop. Immensely practical and hands-on, the program is designed to inspire, engage and help participants develop the leadership skills to meet whatever leadership challenges lie ahead. The program is next scheduled in Raleigh August 5-6 and in Greensboro September 11-12. Please see http://j.mp/LC-CA for more information and to register.