People and not processes are the key to success

Importance of focus on key jobs stressed at European process excellence conference
By: Adaptation
Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas
Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas
Sept. 29, 2012 - PRLog -- Helping people in key roles to adopt the winning ways of superstars could enable most organisations to rapidly improve their performance according to Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas. Speaking at a European process excellence conference in Aberdeen he called for greater focus upon supporting key jobs and enabling people to excel at important tasks that contribute directly to delivering priority objectives.

Coulson-Thomas contrasted the quick impacts and multiple benefits of providing better performance support with the indifferent results of many expensive, disruptive and time consuming attempts to periodically restructure or re-engineer processes: “Large sums are spent on mega projects to adopt and adapt standard processes that give little competitive advantage, when enabling key staff to emulate the approaches of high performers can deliver multiple returns on investment in a few months.”

The professor’s investigations covering over 2,000 companies and over 500 professional firms have identified critical success factors for a range of activities that impact directly upon corporate performance and what high performers do differently in these areas. The results set out in over 20 research reports reveal a huge arena of opportunity for organisations to quickly and simultaneously obtain multiple benefits with their existing people, structures, cultures, technologies and processes.

Coulson-Thomas explains: “Even the small proportion of people in the top quartile of achievement are typically only very effective at less than half of the identified critical success factors. Providing better support for people in key jobs or critical tasks within processes can simultaneously increase understanding, boost performance, cut costs, speed up and bespoke responses, evidence compliance and reduce stress.”

Over the past five years Coulson-Thomas has been reviewing a variety of approaches to change and transformation and the results of early adoptions of his approach to performance support are set out in two book length reports Talent Management 2 and Transforming Public Services. The evidence shows it to be more affordable, effective and quicker at producing results than widely used alternatives.

For Coulson-Thomas “In uncertain and dynamic situations periodic and costly re-engineering or re-structuring often presents unacceptable risks. Requirements and priorities can change during implementation and even if benefits result they may not outweigh the costs of implementation and disruption. While adopting generic processes may not differentiate, appropriate performance support can and does.”

The professor continues “Some jobs can involve a number of processes and most customers have little interest in them or an organisation’s structure, culture or values. They are simply looking for a prompt, competent, affordable and appropriate response. The right 24/7 and continually updated support can enable average people to emulate the approaches of high performers when addressing their requirements, succeeding at key tasks and coping with challenges and opportunities as they arise.”

Business process management and supporting services from process modelling tools to process consultancy services has become a major industry. Coulson-Thomas believes “there is little point in all this investment if people undertake key tasks within processes in a loosing way. Performance support can bring together everything someone in the front-line - or customers themselves - need to succeed. Get it right and incorporate only what is needed to deliver sought-after outcomes and significant parts of many organisations, processes and structures may no longer be needed.”

Coulson-Thomas was speaking at Energy Process Excellence Europe in Aberdeen. Talent Management 2, Transforming Public Services, some 20 reports setting out critical success factors for key corporate activities that can be incorporated into performance support and at appropriate points in processes, and his book Winning Companies; Winning People which summarises what high performers do differently can be obtained from

Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas, vision holder of successful transformation programmes, director, adviser and author of over 40 books and reports has held corporate and public sector board appointments. The world’s first professor of corporate transformation and now a part-time academic at the University of Greenwich Colin has helped over 100 boards to improve corporate performance and spoken at over 300 events in 40 countries. He can be contacted via
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Tags:Process Management, Business Process Management, Process Excellence, Performance Support
Industry:Business, Human resources
Location:Cambridgeshire - England
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