People are at the heart of any transformation

Post by 
Harry Vazanias
October 15, 2021

hen designing Op Models, there is a high risk that the scientific approach used will lead to the assumption that well-defined processes, structures and strategic objectives will be followed as planned. However, humans don’t work this way. We are simply too good at cutting corners, going with our gut and even breaking the rules. For example, how many have sped whilst driving? Almost all, yet there are clear laws and well-known dangers involving speeding.

There is a strong argument to say that process and rules curtail high performance. Netflix famously stressed this point and have looked to embrace a culture where people and teams have autonomy, rather than pre-defined processes. In their experience, processes and governance are all about not trusting people to use their own brains and operate effectively. Hence Netflix seek to give their people enough autonomy to truly perform. This is at odds with more traditional approaches to business architecture (such as Op Model design) where businesses seek to apply Level 3 processes, tight governance frameworks, bullet proof job descriptions and other mechanisms that ensure humans stay in specific boxes and work as designed within the model. This not only restricts the performance of a person and a team by limiting their ability to use their brain, but it also misses the point that people will naturally rebel (often in a passive aggressive manner).

To be successful with Operating Model changes, the architects of the new model need to think about how to get the most out of the people involved. They need to understand that we are talking about people who are the ones that perform the processes, use the org structure, maintain the technologies, and live the culture.

The first step in the design phase should be to understand the current people base of the organisation: who are they, what are their differing needs, what are the different types of workers that we have, what are their skillsets and behaviours?

The second step is to then identify what target base you want. Is the current base the right one, or do you need something different?

By performing these two steps, you can then understand what your Op Model needs – ultimately getting the best out of the people it will serve. Once this is understood you can then get into the real detail of your Op Model and design something special.

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