Saturday, September 3, 2011

How leaders achieve the goals.

In the post Leadership Matters, of this series about Leadership, I blogged about the importance of having an effective leader and then analyzed Anna Hazare, the 74 year old youth icon of India and obviously and effective leader.
The gist of this post would be understand how a effective leader puts his vision into practice, gets his vision transformed into reality, aligns the available resources to achieve the set goal .
An effective leader chalks out a framework for the organization such that everybody gets aligned to the organization goals. One of the key components of the framework is Operations. And for the operations to be smooth, we need Processes.
When I say processes, I am not talking about the bureaucracy. For me processes are all about creating an organizational environment so that the workforce can carry out their duties in the most efficient way.

An Example of Operational Excellence
I happened to witness the most apt example to emphasis on Operational Processes when my flight from Bangalore landed at Pune airport. Within no time, the staircase was in place, the baggage carrier was doing its job and by the time I reached the Baggage collection counter the bags have started their journey on the conveyor belt. The maintenance team had started their work on the flight to make it ready for the next destination. Everything was happening so smoothly and so effectively. People involved were very much aware of what is expected from them. The very small portion of the Airport Operations I analyzed concreted my thoughts about importance of effective operational Processes to ensure things are done and done right...The way a leadership envisioned. 

Another example
Its about a doctor named Atul Gawanade who implemented the process of sterilizing hands before entering the operation theatre. Stunningly, the infection rate came down
Atul Gawande has penned down the experience in "The Checklist Manifesto" .The significance of having essential and effective processes was reinforced in my mind after reading this masterpiece.

Why introduce Processes?
My job involves handling operations and I don’t have such smooth rolling so I thought what is the one thing that is making the difference in case of Airport Operations. I feel it’s the Process. Apart from very clearly knowing what is expected from them, the Airport staff was very clear about how to conduct their duty so that whatever is expected is achieved. There was a crystal clear process defined for the Baggage carrier. There was a clear process for the Staircase carrier as to what needs to be done once the flights land. The baggage carrier will not interfere and will not come in way of the staircase carrier because the process has been set such that they have their independent paths and duties. It’s the clarity of the duty and the clarity of conduct that made the difference.

The sour point...
Many people feel processes are a way of implementing bureaucracy and I don’t deny this. And that’s where again the leadership matters. An effective leadership what processes will improve the operational efficiency and what will dampen efficiency. For me, a process is way of following what is best to achieve the target.

You are welcome to speak out your mind in the comments section...