“Pressure Testing” your Business Processes

COVID-19 activated many Crisis Management plans within the industries with which my firm supports. As executives began to address, identify, and mitigate COVID-19 risks to their employees, facilities, and supply chains, many senior leaders either designed or activated their Crisis Management Strategies. Often these strategies led to daily meetings (sometimes several times a day), multiplying metrics, and more overall governance. No one would dispute that in a time of crisis, leaders need to have robust processes around communication, accountability, and performance.

However, shouldn’t an organization’s current Business Processes be robust enough to guide the organization through both times of stability, as well as times of volatility? While the “Content of Conversation” will certainly change, the overall architecture and structure of the processes should remain unaltered. Too often we see organizations abandon their current operating systems in times of market volatility, global disruption, and overall industry uncertainty for a model we call “Red Cape Driven, Heroic Leadership.” Yes, Leaders MUST Lead, but organizations must also be vigilant in ensuring their Crisis Management/Mitigation strategies aren’t creating a “Perpetuating Dependency” on the leaders to navigate the organization out of the crisis. Too often, the elements instituted in the Crisis Management Strategy default to being the daily operating rhythm. This “hyperactive” daily regimen ultimately creates organizational fatigue. Perhaps you are experiencing this today, with excessive Zoom calls, excessive data reporting, excessive virtual meetings – the fatigue is real and there is a longing to return to a rhythm that feels more predictive and stable.

The most successful organizations recognize their business processes must have the ability to be “Pressure Tested” not just in times of stability, but more importantly in times of volatility. To ensure this, I believe there are four Non-negotiable Processes that guide organizations in good times and bad, and if solidly built, these processes form a “Pressure Tested” Management System that will guide any organization from volatility to stability. While the “Content of Conversation” will certainly change, the systemic architecture should not. In essence, the organization should have “Thermostatic Processes” that enable active and timely organizational positioning. Reflect for a moment on your organization and ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does a “Business Acumen Process” exist that allows every employee to know if the organization is winning or losing?
  2. Does a “Communication Process” exist that allows leaders to operate from a position of offense, not defense?
  3. Does an “Accountability Process” exist where engagement can be measured empirically, not anecdotally?
  4. Does a “Behavioral Process” exist where there has been agreement on the ideal behaviors required of both leader and team members to support a process-driven culture?

If these questions seem abstract, I would suggest your current operating system would not pass a “Pressure Test” and consequently, the organization is most likely operating in the crisis-driven mode of “Red Cape Heroics.”

As we look to the future, leaders need to take a critical look at their current operating systems. Is there organizational fatigue? Have the crisis management protocols morphed into a “hyperactive” daily regimen? Are leaders leaning too heavily into their “Red Capes” and circumventing team engagement?

To learn more about our four Non-negotiable Processes and how to “Pressure Test” your current system, please reach out. Our Process Based Leadership® Operating System coupled with our Visuant® Digital Management Systems creates a robust “Pressure Tested” methodology to guide your organization through times of both volatility and stability. To learn more, please reach out to syount@csipbl.com or info@csipbl.com

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