Management Bug: Process Definition Resistance

A MngtBug is a problem, cause or impact in a human manager’s decision which produces an incorrect or unexpected result.
Every week we share a little bit of our knowledge base on social media and our newsletter. Since we believe the Management Bugs are common and typical, every description is created and adapted from articles, blog posts and definitions from other sources and authors.

This week’s MngtBug is…

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Have you ever seen this MngtBug? How did you solve it?
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This week’s “Process Definition Resistance” is such a classic.

By definition, a process is a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result. (Extracted and adapted from

Processes are what adds value. Processes cut across functions, departments, and organizations. The concept that any outcome is the result of a process is fundamental to effective management.

Whether you are managing personal relationships, projects, or any operational activity, knowing that the end you wish to reach or have reached is the result of a process that enables you to be better at what you do. Processes take place under conditions. The same process may have different outcomes if it is performed by people with different skill levels or cultural norms, or under different temperature or weather conditions.

People doing the work need sufficient flexibility to adapt, moment to moment, but in the context of process constraints.

Attempting to apply a “one size fits all” approach in complex situations is a recipe for failure. Forcing people to follow an inappropriate process is a recipe for failure. Processes cut across silos. Step back and focus on the steps and the outcome. Establishing roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities is critical.
(Extracted and adapted from

A fun example of this is illustrated here on this “Exact Instructions Challenge”

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(Extracted and adapted from

Resistance has been identified as a top obstacle to successful change. Resistance is a natural reaction to change; but we have the power to control the duration, cost, and impact of resistance. Change creates anxiety and fear. The current state has tremendous holding power, and the uncertainty of success and fear of the unknown can block change and create resistance. These physical and emotional reactions are powerful enough by themselves to create resistance to change. If we take the position that resistance to change is unavoidable and complex and choose not to address it directly, we will pay a price in terms of change outcomes and ultimately benefits realization.
(Extracted and adapted from

Resistance is always a symptom and not a problem itself. Go deeper to understand the root cause and address it appropriately.

Known Associates

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This MngtBug has been mentioned with several MngtFixes such as…

“Internal Communication Definition and Implementation”,
“Company Values Elicitation and Definition”,
“Roles and Ownership Definition”,
“Knowledge Management Implementation”,
“Process Improvement Initiatives Definition and Implementation”,
and of course “Meetings with Main Stakeholders Implementation”!

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Have a nice week and remember…
Human Managers should strive to be humans while managing and be managed as humans!

Written by

Eduardo Espinheira is a Consultant, Facilitator, Manager, Public Speaker, Creator of the Management Bugs&Fixes and the Machiavellian PM Stories

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