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BPM or : when engagement became about more than just expensive jewelry
Krista Summitt 270003YAW6 firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  socialbpm bpm engagement blueworkslive #bwlive impact2011 #bizagility
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This post was written by frequent contributor and Blueworks Live Product Manager Mihnea Galeteanu.
You can find Mihnea on Twitter at @innospotting or on his blog, Child In You.
At Impact 2011 we proposed that BPM was about more than just technology. It was also about the methodology you bring to bear when rolling out a BPM program. Something happened on my way to work today that further strengthened this belief for me and made me realize that this methodology must be rooted in a solid foundation around engagement in order for it to achieve its transformational potential – and technology can help with that.
After dropping my son off at school this morning, a complete stranger waved at me. And not just at me, but at every driver passing through the intersection he “manages” as the crossing guard. His job: making sure my and some of your children get to the other side safe. His life work: putting a smile on stressed drivers’ faces while he does his job. Here’s someone who is fully engaged and who has transformed a routine function into something that warrants a blog post.
As “believers” we perceive continuous process improvement as a calling. We see ourselves as heretics, as change agents armed with nothing but a BPMN diagram and lots of coffee. But while BPM needs heroes, it should not be dependent on them since that’s the making of fairy tales and not real sustainable transformation. And so when we talk about continuous process improvement, what do we really mean? Do we mean enabling technology or do we mean keeping the people doing the process improvement, the inhabitants of the corridors and intersections of your organization, engaged and motivated to continuously do it? No amount of technology will ever substitute a disengaged workforce. A better stop sign or whistle will not make our crossing guard more engaged. Period.
At last month’s THINK Forum that IBM hosted, Tom Friedman declared that “Average is officially over”. With that in mind, I immediately wondered what motivates this one crossing guard to be better than the other crossing guards. Is it the rain that was pouring down that morning? Is it the pay? Or is it the fact that some children he watches over don’t even bother to acknowledge his presence? Likely none of the above. I would argue that his engagement comes from immediate feedback. He put a smile on my face and while my windshield is not the cleanest on the block, I know he saw that. In fact, I noticed that he put a smile on the face of the driver coming from the opposite direction too.
So while technology cannot stand in for engagement, what can technology do to stimulate it? Can it give immediate feedback? Sure it can.
Can it be so simple to use that it improves the process of process improvement? Sure it can.
It took one and only one engaged individual to change my driving routine, because just like my morning Java I also enjoy starting the day with a smile on my face. In the process he made the children, his customers, safer because while some drivers might ignore a stop sign, they will never ignore a waving hand – especially in this day and age when if you see a raised hand, it’s usually not waving at you. Imagine what entire organizations (empowered by the knowledge that they can drive change and simple tools that lower the barriers to participate in it) can move when everyone is engaged!