Process at the Expense of Purpose

process_over_purposeWhen the process becomes more important than purpose strange things can happen, some not so good.

Even responsible managers diligently working through a process, but without defining their purpose, can cause not so pleasant things to occur.

For example:

Q: What happens when Procurement follows a strategic sourcing process without requiring business units to define their purpose and goals?

A: Business units can end up misaligned with corporate strategy, and lack needed capabilities from selecting a less than optimal vendor.

Q: What happens when vendors setup a proposal process to write proposals as efficiently as possible?

A: Vendors can produce large numbers of proposals quickly, but loose their proposals’ effectiveness. Essentially lessening their ability to win bids.

No Purpose?

Without first defining purpose, time and effort is sunk into an unintentional, murky vision of the future.

Without purpose goals can only be guessed at and process choices become limited. And going forward, the long-term commitment to work through challenges again and again will be lacking.

Working a process without purpose is like horseback riding in a loose saddle – you’re not quite sure you’ll make the full ride.

Goals aren’t Purpose

Don’t confuse goals with purpose, they’re not the same. Goals define destinations, they describe where you want to end up.

Purpose is the mission we’re on, the reason our work exists, the reason we get out of bed in the morning.

And purpose is harder to define than goals or process. But by defining purpose first, goals become clear, and the choice of process(es) reveals itself.

Process in its Place

Being process-oriented is a good thing. Mapping, managing and improving processes makes purpose and goals achievable.

However, process benefits most when purpose and goals are defined first.

How do you define purpose and goals with your processes?

Image by a4gpa

Chris Arlen
President, Service Performance

Technorati: process, procurement, proposal writing

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