Stop Being Process-Focused, Start Being Solutions-Driven
UPS makes 18 million deliveries a day in the United States, requiring an extraordinary amount of coordination, collaboration, and commitment. The company is constantly embracing new technology, building better processes, and finding ways to make their operation more efficient. Yet, while they have exceptional leaders, top-notch talent, and state-of-the-art equipment to make their company flourish, one of the simplest ideas ever thought of transformed the company completely.
The idea - drivers should avoid left-hand turns unless absolutely necessary.
This practice shaves 185 million miles a year from their routes, eliminates emissions equivalent to over 20,000 cars, and saves between $300-$400 million annually in fuel alone. Additionally, due to left-hand turns being 10 times more likely to be a “critical pre-crash event” than right-hand turns, it also reduces the risk of motor vehicle accidents. The success of this practice has become so profitable, their routing software calculates the best possible route for each truck by favoring right-hand turns, sometimes going so far as to have drivers go around the block in favor of making a left.1
This is a perfect example of a company being solutions-driven instead of being consumed by developing an alluring process.
Bureaucratic red tape and emphasis on unnecessary procedures and activities that fail to generate value destroy productivity. Rather than being solutions-driven, companies put processes in place that drive people away from adding value and toward a state of frustration, all because they are looking to use a captivating way to complete the job instead of just focusing on delivering a valuable solution. For example, technology that is state-of-the-art yet does not enable employees to complete their role easily, projects that must be signed off by 11 vice presidents before being started, and virtual training that reaches a lot of people but does not help them understand the material all have a “check-the-box” mentality.
Though one could argue that processes are in place to ensure that chaos does not permeate throughout an organization, an excessive number of regulations that confines employees does not create order. Instead, it imposes on an employee’s ability to fulfill their responsibilities.
Stop being process-focused. Start being solutions-driven.
The exceptionally complex business environment that we are now in requires a solutions-driven mentality. Excessive red tape and uniquely defined processes that create more complexities than necessary do not serve your organization well; they only make things more difficult. Excessive emphasis on process and following the rules pales in comparison to actually getting the job done. The only way you will be able to produce results to the level necessary to compete is to be solutions-driven.