The Third Reengineering Curve: To re-engineer how we manage knowledge workers
Charles Villanyi Bokor
The CERP Group
Unlike organizations, today’s knowledge workers do not need managers. Like organizations, they need to succeed, and to self-actualize. Information and knowledge processing subject matter experts (SME) not only question management’s set standards but are also intelligently disobedient and often do what they think they should their way. Hence, business transformations can no longer only deploy new systems and reengineered processes. It must also rethink how management will align, engage and enthuse human resources, constrain them with fewer rules and how SME teams will make decisions to produce outputs that serve the needs of the corporation.
For an organization intending to transform and protect its viability in an ever-changing business environment, business process reengineering is but the first step. The practicing organizations understand that business transformation also needs to reengineer the roles of the people involved, how information is acquired and used and how technology facilitates the tasks, processes, and the outputs needed and expected to be produced. The enlightened organizations have also discovered that in addition to the above, they have to select which processes to reengineer or engineer, and then decide how much they need to and/or can change or innovate, organizational capacity to adopt changes. Leading organizations are on the cusp of significant and innovative transformation of how they organize, empower, hold people accountable and lead them to enthuse customers. They discovered that process engineering has to look outside the processes [‘boxes’] being engineered, specifically at how knowledge workers in these processes are lead, engaged, facilitated and constrained. In other words, the new scope of process engineering now has to include the governance process. Specifically, it has to define the roles and responsibilities of workforce’s managers, who are asked to build and lead expert teams, and how executives, accountable for the eventual outcome, will impact the organization’s capability.
- We are on the cusp of significant and innovative change to how we organize, empower, lead and hold people accountable.
- We have elaborated and mastered the methodology to manage people. Now we need to focus and hold management and executives accountable for building expert teams, engaging knowledge workers, and enthusing them.
- The Federated Governance Model (FGM) is focused on people, governance, leadership, and aligning diverse needs to deliver expected outcomes.
KEY WORDS: Reengineer, business transformation, second curve, enthuse, workforce, management, team building, knowledge workers, governance, innovation, intelligently disobedient.
In too many organizations today, expert staff are restricted by managers from using all their acquired knowledge because many managers do not have their expertise and understanding of the issues nor/or the management skills needed to lead them. Information and knowledge processing subject matter experts (SME) want to serve the needs and deliver as per the expectations of the corporation, support its strategy and help it to succeed. They are also searching to be fulfilled and self-actualized [McGregor, 1960], and to do what they think they are needed to do their way. They are not receptive to being managed. When management not only attempts to dictate what to do, but also how things need to be done, these SMEs and millennials not only question the set corporate and cultural standards but also intelligently disobey.
Business process reengineering (BPR) is the first step to transform tasks and processes and protect organizations’ viability in an ever-changing business environment. Organizations that have been reengineering atheists or agnostics and now have newly discovered the benefit of BPR, use any methodology or approach suggested at the introductory sessions or in the books on the subject or by the local reengineering lead. They use the process poorly, and as a reaction to an adverse event. Organizations that regularly practice BPR, have learned and understand that when reengineering and engineering processes, they must consider how people are involved in them, how information is acquired and used and how technology facilitates the tasks and processes that produce needed and expected outputs.
The enlightened organizations in addition to the above, proactively select which processes to reengineer or engineer. Then they decide how much these chosen processes need to change or how much to innovate, in view of the organization’s capability to change. Finally, the organizations that lead in the marketplace, are on the cusp of significant and innovative transformations of how they organize, empower, lead and hold people, who serve external customers, accountable. They discovered that process engineering also has to look at how human resources are managed, and specifically at how knowledge workers in these processes are lead, engaged, facilitated and make decisions. In other words, the new scope of business innovation now includes the roles and responsibilities of managers, who are asked to build and lead expert teams, as well as the roles and responsibilities of executives, who are held accountable for the outcome and the organization’s capability.
About the Author
Charles Villanyi Bokor is a Strategic Management Consultant focused on Leading to Better Decisions. Principal activities include Business Transformation, Problem Project Recovery & Leadership, Strategic Planning. Charles works mostly in Ottawa but has successfully completed assignments in Florida, Wales, Malaysia, Sweden and Australia, and was key-note speaker in Johannesburg South Africa and Victoria BC. Formal education includes an Executive Development and Diploma in Management (McGill University), M.Sc. Mathematics (Université de Grenoble, and U. de Montréal) and B. Sc. Mathematics (Concordia University). He was: Program Director of the Corporate Performance Management Program, Sprott, Carleton; Director of IS/IM at Royal Trust; and at Northern Telecom; CMC; CMC Board Member; PMI-OVOC Board Member; Governor of ICCC; is ITIL Certified and a TBS Independent Project Reviewer. Charles can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org