It’s All About the Work

“Yes, but we can’t afford to fire this person, right now. If we did, we would lose everything they know about our system. I know their performance is unacceptable, but we would be lost without the things they know about our processes, our machines, the tolerances, the setups.”

“So, where does that leave you,” I asked.

“Between a rock and a hard place. We can’t even let this person find out that we are recruiting for his replacement. He might quit.”

In the beginning, most companies organize the work around people and their abilities. As the company grows, an inevitable transition must take place. At some point, we have to organize the people around the work.

This looks like a people problem. This is a structural problem.

If you think your organization is people dependent, where work is organized around the people we have, what steps would it take to transform into a system dependent organization? It starts with the simple documentation of processes and roles. That’s the first step to prevent becoming hostage to an underperformer.

One thought on “It’s All About the Work

  1. AJ

    Tom,

    Working with various companies, I’ve found that in many cases the transference of knowledge is tribal and in part why so many under-performers stay in an organization. Many owners love the idea of documenting processes and procedures yet drastically underestimate the time spent going thru the documentation process. This generally results in the abandonment of the documentation process or a rather haphazard approach, which also results in failure.

    What resources are available to drive home the value and importance of the documentation process that can be shared with stakeholders as well as team members?

    Reply

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