Short term yes. Long term no. By talent I’m assuming you mean skilled, experienced personnel. In the short term experienced personnel can circumnavigate the need for formal processes. The problem is they’ll soon get bored or frustrated doing mundane or repetitive activities. In the long term process optimization and automation should be used to help retain talent. Freeing talent from the mundane so they can use their skills and focus on where they add more value.
No, in fact I think the opposite is true. More talented people expect and demand greater efficiencies and effecitiveness. They immiately see holes/gaps and want to brainstorm ways to fix/fill them, then expect management to provide resources to get it done. When transforamation doesn't happen, they sense something is wrong elsewhere (lack of management focus, dedication, budget, resources, etc) and either try to fix that or find something better to do.
No as people begin to recognise their views on how to achieve their outcomes can be readily implemented so they they become empowered a with real time feed back. This will raise satisfaction levels with fewer managers! So real talent is motivated but never forget compliance requires tracking of the "process" which may actually increase the number of processes even if what people see and use as input maybe less?
Another point to note is that by formalizing those critical processes that your talented people can now create so the process belongs to the business and no longer in their private domain of knowledge. That is the trade off with empowerment comes knowledge transfer a win win for all and will encourage others?
You need absolutely no process in any business, full stop. But looking at your business through a process lens and organize it accordingly can bring benefits regardless of the amount of talent you employ. It all depends how you create and control processes and how rigidly that happens. Highly skilled talent does not want to be constrained by a process straight jacket, but they will enjoy well defined goals and outcomes which they are free to achieve according to their skill to serve a customer (internal or external).
Some BPM gurus are stuck in the illusion that process management frees skilled people from doing the boring things. Boring repetitive things can mostly be automated fully with no human interaction at all. But the way typical BPM works there is no room left in the process for skills. But one must not remove all the human interaction with the customer for the sake of both customer and employee. Doing process for the sake of cost reduction will most certainly drive away both. They will quickly find other more interesting places to shop and work. Several studies have shown that.
Performance is not the same as efficiency as seems to be suggested and they are in most cases mutually exclusive. Performance is measured in satisfied customers not in money. Skilled people want to not only use their skills but they want to expand them. Difficult in a process bureucracy that takes months for simple process changes and can only afford the costly exercise by enforcing totally lacking standard processes. No room for skill expansion here. Skilled people would want the ability to create processes themselves and don't want to be controlled by a BPM bureaucracy.
The notion of well-working, process-oriented business transformation from the top down is really no more than a wide-spread and widely sold illusion. A business needs well-defined goals and outcomes from the top down and process creation and adaptation to customer needs from the bottom up. Thats where the skilled people come in really handy. Do it top down and they will soon be gone.
A good trick question to weed out the laggards...
Process Improvement was born in the industrial age. No sooner had Henry Ford's production line methodologies spread, than the quest was on to make those processes - for that's what a production line is - run faster, smoother, cheaper - more efficiently and more effectively.
Some of us are still stuck in the 1920s, trying to remove people, spy on them or regiment them. But the clever money has moved on.
I'm reminded of the man who said "Everyone complains about their memory, but no-one compains about their judgement".
Who was he - well how should I know, with a memory like mine! ;0)
Judgment does depend on memory. And in a modern, complex organisation no-one can have all the facts at his or her fingertips all the time.
This is an area where computers can help. Correlating inforation from lots of sources into one, delivering it just as you reach the decision point. Feeding you "the information you need, just as you need it".
Just about to grant someone a loan? Check and score their credit history. About to make someone an offer? Check what your colleagues have already done on the deal. About to make a purchase? See the industry standard prices, quality scores and stock position.
You may say this is Business Intelligence. But it works better when it is part of the process, not sitting in a graph on someone's desktop.
A good process does two things. It weeds out stuff which really should be automated, leaving people with time to do things only they can do. If you are such an important head that your job can't be automated, let's make sure you aren't burdened down with stuff which can be. Get rid of easy decisions and bureaucracy so you can focus on the exceptions.
Secondly it gives you the information you need to make the best decision, as quickly as possible, with as much certainty as possible.
Erik Brynolfsson put it better than I can... "In the first machine age, we moved beyond the limitations of the human muscle. In the second machine age, we will move beyond the limitations of the human brain".
BPM can help us get there.
The last thing I want, as a corporate officer, is a bunch of processes that depend on the memory and skill of my employees for proper execution. If every case requires creativity and innovation, your ability to scale your business is nil. And if your most talented employees are busy handling routine situations, they won't stick around for long.
Which leads to my next point. BPM can be a boon to employee engagement, meaning that BPM can contribute to, rather than damage, your ability to retain your sharpest employees. I wrote about this idea a while back here:
I think it’s funny...more talent does not necessarily facilitate efficiency or sustainability, if anything more "talent" less processes is closer to being out of control. Processes are not meant to lasso an organization; they are tools that play a part in getting to the objective(s), the lines on the map providing guidance and direction to "talent" across the organization's landscape. Process density would be the objective with room for dare I say Case Management. Keep in mind processes are not the essence of an organization - people, culture, policy, knowledge, technologies, structure, etc. aka architecture have a pivotal role in attracting and retaining talent.
Do you play any sport? Isn’t that true that you’d prefer in your team players at least as good as you?
Ok, this is true in any business talented team, and it is one of the main reasons people like or doesn’t like a job (team includes the boss, obviously).
Can you imagine a talented team without processes? No. Because defining processes is necessary to scale, to assure quality, to improve business performance, and so on. And talented people want to work with talented people, in an amazing and growing project/company.
So, do processes attract talent by themselves? No. Period. But without processes (defined, measured, continuously improved), you cannot retain talent, for sure.
I feel like our collective process-lens bias is skewing the discussion, Toward, what does process say or not say about the talent you need.
"same amount of processes"
"However, do not conflate ability with process"
"The problem is they’ll soon get bored or frustrated doing mundane or repetitive activities. In the long term process optimization and automation should be used to help retain talent."
"No, in fact I think the opposite is true. More talented people expect and demand greater efficiencies and effecitiveness."
"High-performance is always process driven"
"Process frees talented people to be creative and able to deliver results."
"I think it’s funny...more talent does not necessarily facilitate efficiency or sustainability, if anything more "talent" less processes is closer to being out of control."
Juan Moreno gets it closest to right. On a sports team you'd rather have the best players than the worst or average. And good process + great players is greatness.
But I think we're missing the point of the question. Or the question is the wrong question. The arguments seem to be about how process enables talent, makes it more efficient, retains it, attracts it, keeps it from getting bored. Or, that talent doesn't mean efficiency or process effectiveness.
Ever work with a great software developer? Do you know what makes them great? It isn't just that they're talented at writing code (though they usually are), or that they have a lot of practice (though they do). It's that they have good personal software process.
In a small company, in my experience great, talented people create process when it doesn't exist. They write automation for things that could be done manually but don't need to be. They spot opportunities for process and repeatability - or for making hard things more accessible to other people with less skills on the team.
If you have great talent you don't have to dictate to them how the process will work. If you give them air to breathe, they'll discover and capture all the best practices and processes on their own. Much like the creative process, if you hold on too tightly, you don't get any innovation around process (or creativity), but if you set loose boundaries of culture, philosophy, and values, and point them toward a goal, magic happens.
In a really big company, you can't have only "great" people out of your 100,000 employees. there will be a bell curve and you will have barriers to good ideas from great people around process. Roll out the red carpet for process analysts and process experts and designers.
Is there a relationship between "talent" and "business process"? Either as "trade-off" or as "synergy"?
The answer to this question has driven the entire BPO ("business process outsourcing") industry. The original question was posed as costless ("more talent" and "less process") and is therefore is focused on the viability of costless substitution between talent and process system. Without cost, the determinants of substitutability relate to "Technik" and morale.
In reply to the question we have some great answers reflecting the deep experience of contributors. There seems to be a consensus that "great talent" demands "great processes". Which is likely true; but may I also suggest that this is a limited view of organization. (In fairness, I've expanded the question; my comments should not be taken as criticism.)
In both for-profit and not-for-profit, the genius of organization is the ability to get great results (profits or service levels) from a labour pool reflecting population norms. This is the human capital equation.
And there is certainly a tradeoff between labor and automation in that machines can do the work of humans -- although by how much is a debate (Brynjolfsson has been mentioned above).
"A key observation of the paper is that journalists and expert commentators overstate the extent of machine substitution for human labor and ignore the strong complementarities." (Abstract)
Talented people without corporate processes of work have a hight probability to generate chaos, instead real value to the organizations.
Even considering that each person individually could create some kind of value, it could be totally wasted if not aligned with corporate processes.
On contrary, I think that the talented people should be harnessed to improve the corporate work processes in order to get more value to the organizations. Note that these processes can be operational daily processes, or processes of conception to create new products/services with high value to the organizations.
From the EA viewpoint, the topic of this discussion is the following:
1. There are two essential enterprise-wide artefacts “talented staff member” and “processes”.
2. Are there some relationships between these artefacts? It seems yes.
3. Are these relationships strong? i.e. a small change in one artefact may strong affect to another artefact? It seems yes.
4. So, how to achieve synergy between these artefacts? Let us allow talented staff members develop processes which simplify and amplify their work for the best of an enterprise.
5. Can digital amplify this synergy? Of course! Please follow http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2015/03/entarch-view-on-ditigal.html
6. Thus should it be some governance around these artefacts? Absolutely! –To read more please follow http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2015/03/enterprise-patterns-ghost.html
7. Any questions, please?
What a tricky question - there is a lot of nerd rockstar attitude in Mr. Hastings' comment. "Oh I'm a rock star developer with buckets of talent spilling over, I spend whatever I want out of company's open account and I don't need to bring receipts" - said no developer hired by a VC-funded start-up. And what about payroll? Who needs a weekly paycheck when you can live simply by making some customers orgasm in front of your unparalelled bunch of talents? We are all power users and freelancers and we move businesses by the power of our minds. No friction required and actually to be avoided at all costs.
Once you're massively successful, it's easy to claim whatever made you successful (from lack of process to unicorn dust) - you're on top of the world already, you feel there's no constraint. Cynical truth is - try to convince a Silicon Valley VC to invest in your not-incorporated-in-Delaware start-up.
The overwhelming majority of the world is average (I am tempted to think worse, but I can make my point at average). Average humans need guidance - be it instructions, rules, principles, beliefs - they form a sub-culture that individuals will fit into if they intend to live in a social context. For example, most drivers are average and they need traffic signs to orient themselves. I never heard anyone complain about the bureaucracy of traffic signs. They are simple rules that enable a social activity (sharing and collaborating on the same traffic space).
Just by looking at the above perspective, one can jump: there! non-talented people need rules! Hastings is right!
Funnily enough, people are deemed to be talented only by matching them to certain criteria (IQ, no. of customers that pushed the smiley, amount of sales against quota etc etc), which is exactly how rules are being carried out.
So actually, talented people also need rules.Rules, sequences, predictable behaviour, symbols, mutual common ground are part of human culture - talented people cannot live completely outside human culture. Or not for long anyway.
As John said above, the two notions are not correlated as they appear to be - they are orthogonal.