Thursday, 29 May 2008

Destination Dubai

Bookmark and Share

Last week saw me attending the IIR BPM conference in Dubai. The event which took place 19th-20th May, was my first opportunity to actual stay in Dubai, usually I am just passing through on my way somewhere else. The agenda seemed impressive and I was very much looking forward to listening to what was happening in the BPM sector in the region, and of course sharing my own observations.

The range of speakers was quite exceptional, as was the number of speakers talking about taking a top down, leadership led approach. If these companies can truly stay the course, then we should be seeing some pretty amazing results over the next few years.

One interesting thing was that many of the speakers came from manufacturing organizations or government agencies, this is in stark contrast to most other conferences I have seen where Banking and Telecoms are the dominate stories, perhaps in an ideal world we could see something that balances and blends the two camps better.

Overview of the Conference Messages

Rather than simply trying to paraphrase all the presentations I thought it might be nice to take pieces from each of them and try stringing them together in such a way as to give those who attended some picks and those who didn't an easy story of what we learned. So I thank all those speakers who either donated "words" or sparked the thoughts for what follows.

Success begins at the top with a promise from the executives "To be the best for the good of tomorrow". Of course all of our tomorrows will be based on the customer and they only exist outside of our organization. Every process and every project we undertake needs to be able to flex and adapt so as to ensure that they are finely tuned to deliver excellence for the customer. By delivering on our promise of excellence to our customers we will find that our costs are kept lower and that are revenues will rise faster.

These things can only be achieved if we are willing and able to continually challenge the current business practices and models and very rules by which we operate, this constant challenging is required if we truly believe that we can and will be world class, not just telling people that we are world class.

These ideals when taken together require us to change our culture, to a culture of change! Although they are driven from the executive suite and reinforced by the actions of business leaders, it is at the management and operational level that we actually need to make the changes that will make the difference. This requires us to provide suitable training and then coach our teams in how they can consistently deliver success. Nobody suggests that the path is easy, it requires persistence and commitment, but building a track record of small quick wins can help us to build credibility. Not all of the benefits we deliver can be seen as hard or concrete benefits, many are of a more softer nature, but even these can and should be quantified as they are very often the most useful ones, especially we are to engineer for constant improvement, and will be in many ways critical to the long term survival of our organizations.

In order to increase our chances of success there are a number of key things that we need to remember. First and foremost it is fundamentally about the customer and becoming even more customer centric, without them we will have no business and it is the delivery of successful customer outcomes that is the ultimate measure of both our corporate and process success.

Skilled Communicators

In addition to the attitude and behavior changes more important might be our skills as and ability to train others as great communicators that will really define how good we can become as organizations.

The great thing about teaching people real communication is that by doing so we are equipping them with skills for the whole of life. Every day in every way we are communicating, we are even communicating when we don't communicate! So the more we understand about what we are doing and saying and how we affect the people around us then the better we will all be.

Something to remember is that one size definitely does not fit all when it comes to communications, food for thought it is frequently stated that only 7% of our message is delivered through the words we use, 38% is delivered according to our tones and tonality and a whopping 55% is delivered through our physiology. So if we are avoiding sitting down with people in either meetings or workshops, then we are giving up on 55% of communication and limiting ourselves to only getting at most 45% of what is possible. Even if these statistics were out, there is still a good chance that words alone word still command only a relatively small percentage. When deciding on the means and manner of communication it is worth remembering that the meaning of communication is the reaction we get.

Putting all this together we realize that it is our ability or inability to communicate that not only decides how successful we will be, but also how successful those around us can be, we could be holding them back instead of helping them forward. These comments on communication serve as a nice reminder that as managers we need to learn to be leaders and to fire up our teams, point them in the right direction and then get out of the way and let them get on with it.

Additional observations

Sometimes we have to remember that Human Interactions is about just that; interactions between human beings!

One amusing comment was over the use of the term BPR, it was suggested that if people kept talking about it then they were still living in the ark, in fact many presenters talked about it, looked pretty human and did not look like they came off an ark, so I decided to have some fun with the "R" in BPR and use the "R" to describe the stages of a BPM process so first we have Realisation – we have a problem, then we have Revelation – analysis reveals the current state and the problems then we have a choice either Redesign or Rengineer the process, before we implement and test the Results to ensure the desired effect then Record and Remind to monitor and constantly improve. The point being it is not about the letters BPR or BPM or BPA or any of them, it is what we mean by it and what we do about it that will dictate our likely success.

No comments: