Three crucial questions will help a leader and team evaluate different means to an end:
- Is it ethical? This first question may seem obvious, but is overlooked all too often in the rush to get things done. Do the proposed means and methods align with the organization's values, respect people and honor agreements?
- Does the process complement the capabilities of the team that must carry it out? I recall some words of wisdom that were shared by a process-improvement trainer during a “Kaizen” (lean process) event several years ago. His advice was to “be hard on the process and easy on the people”. This shouldn't be misconstrued to suggest that the work is easy, or the goal is not challenging; quite the contrary. The key is that people will be more focused and effective in achieving high goals when the process supports their efforts, instead of requiring “work-arounds” that distract effort and delay progress.
- Will the organization move toward its Vision? By choosing a particular approach, will the organization merely tackle a short-term problem, or will it move along the path toward its long-term goals? Quick-fixes may appear easy in the short-term, but they rarely support sustainable effort.