Avoid Turf Wars: Talk Process

Ask any outsourcing advisor doing remedial counselling: ineffective communication is at the heart of dysfunctional relationships. To bring the client and their outsourcer back into a collaborative relationship, the advisor will focus on nurturing effective communication. And process is the ideal language.

It’s a point which came up at a shared services workshop this week. Two veteran consultants observed that the language of end-to-end process can be very helpful in focussing people on what matters.

Many organizations are riven with tensions. It’s unavoidable: managers are relentlessly engaged in a re-optimization across competing priorities and objectives. But too often it becomes destructive. People hunker down in their silos and lob cross-silo missiles.

Adopting end-to-end process as the language of the organization nurtures effective communication and the right collaborative behaviors, in all sorts of ways:

  • it transcends silo thinking, focussing everyone on the complete picture and the impact on the customer
  • everyone can participate, so the enterprise draws upon the collective wisdom, and fosters a culture of continuous improvement
  • it highlights potential conflicts early on, forcing attention and decisions
  • it can help prevent back-sliding on delivering the future state after difficult decisions have been made
  • in the sourcing context, it puts the client and the outsourcer on the same page, clearly defining how they are collaborating to deliver the client’s requirements.

So – create a collaborative framework, based on end-to-end process and within a governance wrapper, and it helps get the right conversations humming across the extended enterprise.

Mike Gammage is VP and Principal Consultant at Nimbus Partners. Mike has worked in performance improvement consulting, and more recently the BPM space, for more than two decades. He is particularly interested in the overlap between two very dynamic worlds: BPM and perfomance improvement (the drive across all industries to standardise, improve and automate) and sourcing and the virtualisation of the enterprise (the drive to create more flexible and lower-cost service solutions through outsourcing, offshoring and shared services). In either case, Mike believes the enterprise needs a single source of truth about its end-to-end business processes, as well as a framework for the design and implementation of change. It also needs to connect the end-user and all other stakeholders to ensure the adoption of change. These are the keys to sustainable transformation and continuous improvement.