During a meeting last week I found myself getting stuck with the team I was working with. We were discussing some process re-engineering that I was doing for them, trying to get five different business arms to fall in line with each other.
Whilst presenting my proposal on the way forward there were a number of comments made telling me about how complex the problem really was and that I hadn't allowed for these additional complexities. Before I could respond other members of the team were offering suggestions as to how we could cope with these variations.
The key word in that last sentence is variations. When I challenged the comments being made these variations were symptoms of a lack of discipline that had been in place over the past few years. Digging further if we got rid of the in-discipline we were discussing then everything straightened up and the new all encompassing process would work like a charm.
I see a lack of discipline and consistency a lot on my travels. It can make a huge difference to how well a business process operates and is the core them of my book 'Sunrise Meetings'. The trouble with discipline and consistency is that it isn't a sexy topic and many people would like an unstructured approach to working. This does work for some companies, but for the majority of us all of the individual parts of the business need to pull together in the right way at the right time.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, that a straightforward process becomes complicated when you take all the of the 'variations' into account, then it might be time to go and check and make sure that the need for variety is genuine (and not a symptom of being inconsistent elsewhere).