Blind men, an elephant and staggering results


[READ TIME: 2 mins]

Why is it so hard to get corporations to deliver consistent operational processes?  Maybe this parable will help.

Four blind men surround an elephant. Each is grabbing the elephant in a different place. Someone asks each of the blind men in turn “What’s an elephant like?” The blind man holding the elephant’s tail says, “An elephant is like a rope.” The man holding one of the elephant’s ears replies, “An elephant is flat, like a pancake.” Yet a third blind man, with his arms wrapped around one of the elephant’s legs, responds, “An elephant is shaped like the trunk of a tree.” The forth touching the elephant’s tusk, says, “An elephant feels as smooth as marble.”

Each of these men is right — for his part of the elephant. But none of them can accurately describe what an elephant is really like, every one of them is ultimately very wrong.

And this is the problem with driving operational processes and process improvement. All too often, although everyone has a clear view of their part of a given process — the part they “touch” — they are“blind” to its other pieces and, therefore, completely unaware of what the whole process really looks like. Without this ability to see “the whole elephant,” as it were, they also can’t ever properly understand how what they do affects this important process or others involved in it.

Top down & simple delivers staggering results

This is why a top down approach where you start with the end to end process is so valuable.  Also the approach needs to be simple enough so that anyone in the organization can understand the processes. A proven approach is set out in the UPN (Universal Process Notation).

This has never been more important now that companies operate with distributed workforces and fragmented systems, but a key competitive advantage is delivering a consistent Customer Experience (CX).

The results from this approach are staggering – in terms of overall process performance – rather than just in a siloed area. Here are examples that are all in the public domain and were delivered using the UPN approach and TIBCO Nimbus.

click on the image to go to the source document of the quote