Senge is right; your colleagues may be right. Applying Senge’s conceptual framework to a business process highlights the impact each activity has on the “whole” because it helps you to work across organizational boundaries and understand the downstream impacts.
The challenge for many individuals though is the lack of authority to work at the enterprise level (or across organizational boundaries). While the value to performing business process improvement company-wide cannot be diminished, the frequent lack of a process owner can stop this effort. Remember my earlier posts about process owners?
So, what do you do? Nothing?
You can still work on improving your department’s business processes – just make certain to follow the 10 steps to BPI. When you perform step 2, you will clearly understand what your customer or client cares about; and when you perform step 5, you bring in a cross-functional perspective to your work by talking with stakeholders to make sure your changes work for their department. Whenever you identify a handoff in your improved process, include the downstream receiver of the output in step 5. By performing this step, you focus on the end-to-end process, which in turn helps you to optimize the whole.