Wisdom From House, M.D.

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I'm a huge House fan. I was watching a repeat episode one night; the one where he's committed to a mental institution.

House and the patients are sitting around in "group therapy," and to one person House suggests why what he's saying won't work, and he should do this instead. The doctor chides House saying, "Greg, we have a process."

House replies, "Oh yes, we can't let results get in the way of process."

Ok, it's a TV show, I know. But art imitates life, and House is a knowledge worker extraordinaire.

This is one of the problems I have with Lean/Six-Sigma consultants who think everything is a process, limiting the creativity to find better ways to achieve the desired results.

Sure, we need processes to do standard, routine things. But we need to understand that following a process can limit creativity, innovation, and taking risks.

In a knowledge firm, the knowledge worker is the process. Your approach to a tax return will not be the same as mine, even though the file may look the same upon completion. No two surgeons will perform an operation the same way.

This is one of the big differences between a knowledge organization and an industrial, or service, company. In the latter, the knowledge resides in the system; in the former, the knowledge worker themselves are the system.

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