Let me begin with a few premises. Whether we are talking about our personal lives or your business workplace, everything we do is based on a process of some type. Each process is constructed of a series of steps, which lead us to the end result. The second premise is that although we would like everything to run crystal smooth in reality it never happens. Along the way we are confronted with an event that waylays the process. Consider the preverbal Murphy’s Law that states that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. You can follow this up with Schultz’s Law which states that Murphy was too d***n optimistic. Basically obstacles are a natural result of any process.
So if we accept the premise that obstacles are a natural result of running a process then the question becomes how do we view these obstacles. An obstacle leaves us with two very different perspectives as to how we treat these process interruptions. The first perspective is one of hitting a brick wall. The obstacle is the justification for stopping the process and go on with the rest of your lives. I hear this all the time when a manager tells me that the TLS Continuum is great but management will never let me try to introduce the process improvement effort because this is not the way we do things around here. This view does not allow the pride of ownership in the change process on the part of your human capital assets.
The second perspective is where you understand that the obstacle is the demonstration of your inability to meet the demands of your customer. It may not be on purpose. It may be based on the changing needs of the customer’s organization. It maybe based on the miscommunication between the customer and your internal staff. Regardless the obstacle is not the end of the road. I tis the golden opportunity to make your organization and the customer become far more innovative and committed to process improvement. This is the perspective where you are willing to buck the narrow view of what your organization is able to do.
The TLS Continuum begins with you taking the obstacle and through the use of critical thinking tools examine how the obstacle is affecting both your organization an your customer. The critical thinking tools allow you to determine who the stakeholders are of your process. Who in the business process has a direct investment in its outcome? From there we utilize the problem solving techniques we have used since our days in science class. The remainder of the Continuum toolbox carries you through the solution to the problem. It leads you to the removal of the obstacle.
The bottom line is that the view you have of the process obstacles is on your shoulders. I can’t tell you, nor can any other consultant tell you how you view the obstacles in life and business. We can only suggest that if you consider the obstacle to be a dead end you are short-changing your organization and your stakeholders. If you are willing to take the risk and be willing to approach the obstacle as the opportunity it is then your organization that can take advantage of the innovative ideas that you might be considering. It also will turn your organization into a vibrant place to work and thrive.