The parable of the wind and the sun - is this your BPM project?

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A story is told about the North Wind and the Sun. It seems that each claimed to have the greater power over mortals and a dispute arose.

“I am much stronger, ” said the North Wind. "I blow and blow and can even cause great oak trees to tumble to the ground. Surely I have a greater power over man.”

“Indeed not,” said the Sun, “for without my warmth, a man would surely die! Consider the oak tree. Without me it would not grow to be so tall.”

And so it was that the two decided to try their powers upon an unknowing traveler, deciding to see which of them could soonest strip him of his cloak. The North wind furiously blew down upon the man, and caught up his cloak, believing he could wrestle it from him in one single gust. But is was soon apparent that the harder he blew, the more closely the man wrapped himself up in the garment.

The Sun then said, “I shall try my hand at this venture.” So he looked down upon the traveler and beamed his light ever so gently upon him. Eventually, the man unclasped his coat as it draped over his shoulders. The sun then shone down with his full strength, and before he had gone much further down the road, had taken off his cloak so he could complete his journey.

Pretty neat little story eh? I bet you can guess where I am going with this too, can't you? You would be correct too.

How many times are your BPM projects like the wind in the parable? A lot of effort. Some brute force. Determination to make things happen against their will. But ultimately unsuccessful?

How many of your BPM projects are like the sun? A less direct approach. Working with the end user rather than against her. Breaking down barriers to resistance and change gently by making it easier to move to the new situation rather than stay in the old situation. How much more successful do you think that sort of approach will be?

Of course it's all common sense. But the problem with common sense is that it isn't that common. If it was, why would there be a large number of projects with high failure rates as a result of not applying it? It is obviously easier to be 'the sun' in this scenario rather than 'the wind'. So why do so many people try to force change onto people in a way they don't want?

Is this something you or your company is guilty of?

Reminder: 'The Perfect Process Project' is still available. Don't miss the chance to get this valuable insight into how to make business processes work for you.

Click this link and follow the instructions to get this book.

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All information is Copyright (C) G Comerford

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