Patrick Joseph Gauthier wrote a great post this week called “Business Process Reengineering: The Right Skills And Roles For The Task Will Save You Money” and I loved the question he suggests (that gave me the title for this post):
“what if someone with a lower pay grade were to do this?”
He goes on to make me even happier by asserting, quite correctly IMHO
Decisions Are Most Likely Culprit
For my money, I believe 95% of organizations include way too many “Get Supervisor Permission” and “Get Executive to Decide” steps in their processes.
Perfect. This is, indeed, one of the main drivers of decision management. Instead of having the person who is executing the process have to ask someone else for a decision, embed the decision in the process (giving the real decision-maker control over how the decision is made in the process). Instead of having hundreds of front-line staff refer decisions to many managers who follow guidelines taught to them by the one person who understands the company policy, empower the front-line staff to act by having that one person control the rules in a decision and having that decision happen automatically.
I also liked the questions he suggested and think they can be applied to decision management rather than process management with only minor changes:
- what skills are really required for the decision?
- what level of training and education are required?
- what level of authority is required to make the decision and to define how the decision is made?
- how much time does a customer reasonably expect this decision to take?
- what value (to the customer) does the decision enable?
- what impact does this decision have on quality where the product or service is concerned?
- are there any legal requirements imposed on this decision?
- who is making this decision now?
- who is executing the process around this decision?
- are they the same person? do their qualifications, experience, and place in the organizational structure match the requirements of the task?
- based on the time required, how much does this decision actually cost us? (really do this math) what is the upside of a good decision and the downside of a bad one?
- what can be done to the decision to either push it “down” or “up” the organizational structure where it might more appropriately belong?
- is the cost worthwhile in my customer’s estimation? (really ask this question)
Focus on decisions in your processes – there is lots of room for improvement.
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James – I love the direction you’re taking this. I think you’re absolutely right. Companies waste precious time and money asking executives to make decisions that employees on the front-line can easily make once the DM is enabled properly and accurately.