We live in an age where there is a lot of structure around us. We have rules and processes and we seem to let many of these rules and processes lead us in what we do. While structure is intended to bring a certain order to society and to help things run smoothly, structure can also sometimes be a hindrance.
It is great that certain things in our lives can be structured and automated to make things easier for. The problem comes when we follow the processes very strictly and take creativity and flexibility out of what we do. By letting structure rule over us, we will not be able to bring about innovation. And without innovation, we seldom create new things. So sometimes we need to question some rules and processes if we want to create something new and great. Great companies make flexibility and reduced structures as part of their quest to bring innovation into the workplace.
An example is, UPS(www.ups.com) – UPS has given all their drivers a wireless device, so that when they are on the road, they can not only deliver and track packages, they can also receive packages as well. In the United States, you can approach any driver on the road, and if your package has a UPS label with the address details, then you can just pass the package to them directly – no need to go through the full process it takes to get a parcel delivered.
UPS has cut out those structured processes to make it easier for the customers and increase the productivity of their delivery personnel. Customers love this flexibility. The net result – Flexibility and convenience in posting a parcel cost savings through a shorter process, by being able to pass some of the work to back to the customers, thus eliminating employee costs, less waiting time for customers and paper wastage (all done electronically).
So today all you have to do is to either arrange for collection, find a UPS store or pass it to any UPS delivery guy you meet along the way – great flexibility. Managed by in online system, the whole system bringing convenience to all.
In order to make changes, we need to see that not everything is set in stone; that improvements can be made and that people can work better if things are more flexible. So don’t just accept what you see at first go – ask “why not” (Why can’t you change what you see.
In general, most people assume that you cannot change the rules, processes and flow of work and changes will be frowned upon or not allowed at all. This makes them afraid to try new things or to propose changes. This limits innovation and slows the creation of new things.
As entrepreneurs we are constantly looking to make changes, to make things better. To do that we need to understand that rules can be changed, especially if they can make life better.