This is a guest post by Mansoor Adenwala. Mansoor is a blogger, corporate trainer, process advisor, and generally a solution-finder in the world of ICT. He currently works for Business Beam Pvt. Ltd in the capacity of Managing Advisor and is based in Islamabad, Pakistan.Almost all organizations in the world are started on two basic premises. 1) To change the world and 2) to make lots of money and create wealth for its founders and shareholders. So how does one do it?
You â€˜growâ€™ into it.
You cannot start up an organization with thousands of people on the first day and expect results immediately. Maybe you can with tons of equipment and large office space, but not with as many people. I say â€˜cannotâ€™ because of some very real and very basic reasons. Companies are nothing by themselves. Itâ€™s not the factories, itâ€™s not the machinery and itâ€™s not the office space or even the image. A company is a group of people, working towards a common goal.
And as with everything human, it takes time to build up that team, that sense of belonging and that commitment towards a goal. Some of the worlds (and Pakistans) leading organizations are those whose people are committed to it, and not thinking of their jobs as a means to earn a living.
By now, you must be getting an idea of what it does take to grow into a successful company. As the journey proceeds, and you build up your initial product or service (or throw it aside and start with a totally new idea altogether), you promote it and sell it and start getting a profit (or you donâ€™t and scrap the whole idea for a new one) you learn several things along the way. One of these is â€˜operational excellence cannot come from machinesâ€™. Sure, you can get efficiency that way, but not excellence. Unfortunately, this lesson is not such an easy one to learn, nor is affordable for many.
You must be thinking (and rightly so), how can he say that? What basis does he have for quoting that operational excellence cannot come from machines? The answer is in texts, is in research papers, is in conferences on business processes around the world, and above all, is in the day to day life of the people you work with. Many a company has tried to make its processes separate from the people who execute them. Spending millions of rupees in the quest to find, after that one initial success, a method to repeat it and make anyone able to perform it. They buy consulting services, they buy tools and invest in expensive software licenses to eliminate the risk of having an employee having to think about (and subsequently screw up) their work.
But it doesnâ€™t work. Well, most of the time at least. When you come right down to it, itâ€™s the people which do the work, itâ€™s the people who influence how the end product (or service) is made and delivered, and itâ€™s the people who are ultimately accountable for good or bad quality. Itâ€™s the people who give the leadership, itâ€™s the people who give the innovative ideas, and itâ€™s the people who spend day and night, sacrificing their personal lives and in many cases, their health, to further a cause (the company goals) they believe in. And people are not machines!
Processes, tools, softwareâ€™sâ€¦ they are all there to support an organizationâ€™s growth. To aid it, not dictate it. Yes, they aid it well. In fact, so well that sometimes we place them above the people until we learn yet another expensive lesson. â€œA tool is only as good as the person who uses itâ€. So the next time youâ€™re sitting in a board meeting, trying to figure out why profits arenâ€™t as high or customer satisfaction isnâ€™t satisfactory, think about how much youâ€™ve invested in your tools vs how much youâ€™ve invested in your people.
Before I end this post, allow me to summarize.
A company is group of people working towards a common goal, and not the office space or machines or even the processes for performing the work. As long as the goal is clear, is shared and has a culture built around it, the company will give spectacular results. If it doesnâ€™t, the company will set itself up for failure from the start, or worseâ€¦ be doomed for mediocrity.