I love working with Germans. You know where you are at any given point. Whether it is a project, a work or a study things just happen “as they should be”. A German will go from point A to point B and from point B to point C. They will not bend the rules nor will they change for their own benefit shortcutting from A to C. Thery are predictable, reliable. When you buy a German car your are buying an automobile that will take you thousand of kilometers, if not million (and I´m not exagerating) without a bluff. Working with Germans is the closer you are going to get to working with robots and, dont get me wrong, I love robots too. This is not a bad thing, it is just that you get what you expect, which is more than what you are goint to get 99% of the time working with other people around the world. If you want to get fancy, artistic or improvise, look elsewhere. Business money does not pay for improvisation, it pays for certainty and security…it pays for processes.
I mention all this with a bit of admiration. You just can not imagine how difficult it is to convice someone that standards and processes are the way to go if you want to make your company reliable and profitable. Normally the people against all sort of procesesses (they call it control and lack of freedom) are those that like being in the chaos, those that are not in control of their own time, work or goals, and this happens in all the companies that want to make a business transformation but they are not conviced to change. They just want to “brush” and “polish” the surface but little do they realize that the core of their furniture is rotten, full of worms, on the threshold of a break. Making it beatiful will last just for a moment, as soon as you put any heavy book in the shelf this will collapse. Same with business, processes should be there to be followed, not just to make the company look nice as far as ISOs and competition are concerned.
Processes are not just for Christmas
Many people love talking about processes, interactions, inputs & outputs, KPIs…but not sooner they have to maintaine the whole system in place that they start arguing that it is too rigit, that they think that the human touch, interaction and actions depending on conversations (i.e. free will) will be always much better than some sort of rigid mechanisms “dictating what we have to do”. At the end of the day “we know our business and how to treat our customers”. Again, this is the old rethoric argument so lazy business can be made without compromising.
You and your company say something but do otherwise. I agree, keeping a quality approach to business and addressing your needs via processes may be tough if you haven´d done it before. Furthermore, keeping the good work once iniciated is difficult because many surrender at the first hurdle.
Looking the other way
We now have in business so much aid that many thing it should be almost impossible to make a mistake. Big data, analytics, Internet of things (IoT) and so many different sorts of information are available that you can choose and decide what to do in the blink of an eye. However, it is also very simple to make a mistake based on that data and blame the data gathered for your own mistakes.
As they say in stock trading: past performance is no guarantee of future results. If that was the case then you could put a monkey in the Senior Management seat and do all the work. However, what everybody expects is that Senior Management will take the right approach based on the information available AND their experience, knowledge of the market, guts feeling and a long list that, even now, can not be put together in other words that are not “common sense”.
Germans, once again, took this one step further and are holding responsibles their Senior Management for mistakes and wrong processes if they want to blame on the information provided (view link). Most countries will blame the market, the general economy, the society or any other thing they can think of.
Bottom line: If you want to progress try to do it in a way that you know you can repeat. Processes is the way.