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The Big 3 Questions of Consequence

Implementing change processes is a big deal because you’re getting every employee on board with them. Some may resist, and some may embrace them with open arms. In the process you might uncover a few things about how consequences and rewards work for appropriate and inappropriate behavior. In this article, author Dan Kane poses three questions to ask when developing new processes.

Three Questions of Consequence

1. When developing new processes, are you including positive consequences for behaving appropriately?

Have clear expectations of positive and negative behavior. Strongly stated by author Dan Kane, “Your process re-engineering or improvement project will fail without clear behavior expectations.”

2. Does your current process have positive consequences for behaving inappropriately?

Positive consequences for behaving inappropriately are the “most dangerous consequences and most important to uncover.” There can be hidden positive and negative consequences so be sure to look for those before carrying out any further action. Kane adds:

What makes it even harder is that we’re also talking about perceived positive consequences.  Of course I don’t intend to reward the system administrator that routinely takes on requests that should go through the service desk.  As a manager, however, I may forget the occasional process lapses and focus my promotion efforts on all the glowing customer feedback.  What happens when other staff perceive that the rule-bender gets more positive attention and even promotions? […]Equally important in this assessment is a determination of why the rule-bender bends the rules in the first place. Are there problems with the service desk to the point where customers understandably seek out help elsewhere? 

3. Does your current process have negative consequences for behaving appropriately?

Kane states these as the most difficult to uncover, as they are usually the least intentional.

It is important to have clear guidelines for appropriate and inappropriate behavior so that consequences and rewards are carried out fairly across the board. Kane concludes his article by saying that without thorough assessment, “the most thoughtful and well-designed process changes are doomed to fail.”

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About Gavin Martin

Information systems architect / technical design authority with over 20 years experience delivering small-scale through enterprise systems to commercial, finance and government customers.

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