Managing Processes And Organizations As Systems

Labor can do nothing without capital, capital nothing without labor, and neither labor nor capital can do anything without the guiding genius of management. —W. L. Mackenzie King

You shouldn’t expect most of your managers to exhibit “guiding genius.” However, you should expect guiding competence. A competent manager understands the way his or her organization functions and is able to manage the variables that can make it better. We believe that organizations (at all levels) function as adaptive systems. Because your organization operates as a system, you will be most effective if you manage it as a system.

Now that we have presented a methodology for and the pitfalls in Process Improvement and have covered the measurement system that needs to underlie continuous Process Management, we can address Phase 4 of the framework presented here as Figure 14.1.

Process Management

The first part of Phase 4 is ensuring that an individual core process, in most cases one that has been through Phases 1 to 3, is continuously improved. 

While most of Phase 2—Process Analysis and Design—is carried out by nonexecutive personnel, Phase 4 is the responsibility of the people who run the business. To effectively carry out this role, executives need . . .