Process Mapping is not void of Emotion

by | Mar 27, 2019 | Change, Identity |

How do things currently work? It sounds simple, but often it’s different than we think. There are policies and processes on paper and then there is reality; in most systems and processes different people who regularly interact with it will have their own little workarounds to get the system to work for them. They will often also believe that their workaround is the ‘only way’ the system works.

Understanding the real process is a critical step in the Courageous Change Framework helpful in bringing about change because understanding the workarounds (and why they exist) is just as important as understanding what process on paper is.

There are lots of different ways to map out the process (current or desired); there is not one right way to do it. The important thing is to make it visible, have multiple people engage with it, ask why a lot, and ask ‘and then what happens’.

Often when we think about mapping processes, we think of them in a clinical way, devoid of emotion, thinking we are simply mapping and talking about what ‘is’ without judgment. While this may be true for you, although usually if the mapping is part of a change process we tend to be judging it at one point to bring about change. But back to the point, our intent might be clinical, but for the people involved in the current processes emotions will be front and centre.

It is critical to remember people’s jobs, and for some their identity, are connected with the processes. When we discover workarounds, depending on the organisational culture, societal culture, and individual personalities, shame, embarrassment, pride, antagonism might be attached.

This is why it is essential to collect stories around the process map as the stories will provide insight into how things really work, how people who interact with/participate in/manage feel about the processes, and where there are hooks for change. They also might make us go back and redefine or add more ‘colour’ to the problem we are trying to solve.


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