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Seeing the Process Forest and the Trees

As the old saying goes, sometimes it’s all too easy to focus so much on something that you can’t see the forest for the trees. This makes sense; we are generally not flying over the forest, nor are we asked to take that broad view. We’re asked to do our day-to-day work. So with processes, we see the tree(s) in front of us, and maybe are aware there are some behind or ahead of us as well. We’re not typically walking a path through the entire forest though; what we do in a process is often simply a small part of that path. This is why individual contributors can have great ideas on how to improve some portion of a process, that provide valuable insights, and unfortunately can be not enough to effect valuable change. Even those that look at what they think of as the ‘entire’ process can be missing interactions with other processes, and broader views beyond that. Taking a broader view can help us avoid point solutions that sub-optimize the overall picture, whether that’s eliminating steps, upgrading equipment, training people, or automating. Please see my latest article for more detail on my thoughts on this subject.

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