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“Process” and “Improvisational” are NOT Mutually Exclusive. Here’s Why.

There’s been quite a bit of analysis illuminating the massive strategic shift in operational process we’re seeing in the mortgage industry right now.  Here’s one that, although a year old, seems more prescient each day–we urge you to have a look.

One statement in a recent industry report really jumped out at us:

“Traditional BPM and standardized workflows deliver operational excellence measured by efficiency but not the innovation required in the digital age. An improvisational approach to BPM can help CIOs to add greater value to front-office, customer-experience improvement initiatives.” 

Wow.  “Improvisational” and “process” in the same idea?  That would appear to undercut the long-held (if unspoken) notion that process and standardization are the diametric opposites of “creativity” and “improvisation.”

But they don’t have to be.  Perhaps we can compare this to the unusual but widely-lauded strategic approach made famous by General Stanley McChrystal, charged with overseeing the U.S. war effort in Iraq in the mid-2000s. McChrystal has since moved into business advisory, but he believes the strategy can be applied to the business world as well.  In essence, he believes the most powerful strategies enable decision-making and empowerment at the tactical or small team level.  You can get the basics of his approach to strategy in this excellent article.

Perhaps the two concepts don’t dovetail perfectly.  But we think there’s real truth in the statement that your process can no longer be static, hierarchical and slow to adapt.  The sharing of data, combined with empowerment at lower levels, can lead to powerful results.

We don’t believe there’s a universal formula to get to that point.  Then again, that’s probably contrary to the theory itself. But we do know this—if your process (and strategy for process and business management) takes too long to change; too long to process or too long to adjust…it’s probably not what you need as we head into chaotic yet exciting times.

If your process (and strategy for process and business management) takes too long to change; too long to process or too long to adjust…it’s probably not what you need as we head into chaotic yet exciting times.

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