SAM in the City: “You’re not corporate....”

06 February 2013
3 minute read
Best practice

SAM in the City: “You’re not corporate....”

06 February 2013
3 minute read
Rory Canavan: SAM in the City

Rory Canavan: SAM in the City

You’re not Corporate…

These words were used to describe me over 12 months ago, mid-way through a SAM engagement for a global client.  I might have shrugged off such a comment; however this statement came from my boss at the time.  So whilst I felt disappointed that I wasn’t (in their eyes) the embodiment of commercial acumen, it did get me thinking – what is corporate?

  • To dress in a certain manner?
  • To toe the party line?
  • To not speak unless you are spoken to?

I spent just under 8 years in the Royal Navy wearing a uniform kept to almost surgical standards of husbandry; I marched with, and saluted, individuals whose charm and personality could reverse the effects of global warming in the Arctic – and I spent a lot of time struggling with outmoded traditions that were accepted as Standard Operating Procedures because no one took the time to re-think better ways of operating – I got out!

I learnt much from my time in the RN, but “life in a blue suit” was not my calling.

Fast-forward more years than I care to admit, and I am no longer working for the RN, or for the ex-boss who said I wasn’t corporate – and you know what? I am happier now than I have ever been.

And I believe the reason is I keep asking “why?”- As a SAM consultant with a heavy reliance on the process aspect of life, I consistently see routines develop and become entrenched into the corporate psyche; and so as a corporate individual I might not be expected to challenge the way things are; but rather accept them and salute as I do so.

However, process-improvement is about change and hopefully change for the better, and so asking “Why?” is the foundation of analysis and hopefully process-improvement.

“I’m not corporate” will happily be the first tattoo I ever get (once I get the bicep to do it justice!)

Why? Why? Why?

And so, before I depart the office for the gym/tattoo parlour, this is how I introduce “Why?” into process improvement:

  1. Understand the existing process
  2. Ask “Why?”  (Why do you want those results? Why does the process work the way it does? Why are those people being tasked with carrying out those activities? Why is that system being used?)
  3. Understand the new objectives for the improved process
  4. Revise the process model
  5. Seek feedback/endorsement/sign off

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