When used correctly, processes should standardize and simplify the necessary tasks that keep business running smoothly. They should enable organizations to undertake complex work, particularly as an organization grows. Expense reporting, for example, should have a process that every single employee follows every single time–that’s just common sense. Smart processes encapsulate bundles of organizational knowledge. And that’s a good thing.
But it’s not a good thing when there are so many processes in place that they restrain the people they’re supposed to help. If your team spends its days asking for permission before executing, taking an hour to complete expense reports or time sheets, attending redundant meetings, or answering irrelevant emails, you’ve got a problem. Exactly when are employees supposed to find the time to innovate when every task or topic is labeled “urgent” and every deadline is ASAP? Something will eventually give, and that something is going to be the part of the job they can keep pushing off until later.