Here’s a test. I’m going to name some famous roles and some famous actors; you try to match the actor with the role. If you don’t know off the top of your head, then guess based on the ones you do know. Just draw a line between the role and correct actor or do it in your head. We’re not going for a free iPad or something.
Even if you have not seen the movie or TV program named, you could probably still do this exercise with great accuracy. Why is that? The reason is the roles are familiar and so are the actors; at least enough of the actors are familiar enough for you to guess any that you may not remember.
Two are simple deduction. Lassie has to be a dog and there is only one dog on the list. June Cleaver is the only female name, so it’s a pretty good guess that Barbara Billingsley played the Beav’s mom on TV.
Now, let’s look at Spartacus, I’m talking the 1960 version of the movie. He’s a gladiator right? Do you think they would let Orson Wells onto the big screen without a shirt? What about Wally Cox? Neither one is going to muscle beach anytime soon so that leaves Anthony Hopkins and Kurt Douglas.
Hopkins is a great actor and he might even pull off a gladiator, but we’re talking the fifties folks and Tony Hopkins was a kid then. It’s got to be Kurt Douglas. But, what about Hopkins; who would he play? How about the smooth, urbane, cultured and utterly ruthless Hannibal the Cannibal? His very civility and cultural sophistication is what makes such a terrifying monster.
Wally Cox wouldn’t make a terrifying cannibal because he wouldn’t be believable. The role would not suit him. Maybe Wally is Citizen Kane. Think about that role. It’s modeled on William Randolph Hearst, the media magnate of the golden age. Nope, Wally is not going to work in that role either. Hollywood is wants a regular parade float of a man for that part. Orson Wells gets the nod right? So we end up with Wally playing Mr. Peepers.
That’s how roles work in Hollywood. The role is defined and then talent is found to fill the role. That works great when they get it right. They don’t always get it right; see John Wayne as Genghis Kahn. It’s laughable. No matter how hard John Wayne tries he just can’t pull off an effective Mongol warrior King. He can’t adapt to the role. It is beyond his physical make up.
This applies to roles in the world of ERP software as well. If you start with pre-defined roles within your software model, you are making a huge mistake. You are assuming that Wally Cox can stretch to do a credible Spartacus.
Unfortunately, many ERP systems come with predefined roles. If these roles are locked or can’t be easily modified then you are likely looking at a role and an employee that will have to work around the new system, or adapt to the new system in order to get their job done.
Roles in the world of ERP should be based on the reality of your own enterprise and the jobs that people fill in that enterprise. If the software vendor predefines those roles, everything is suddenly backwards.
You and your team know the jobs that have to get done. The roles within your software implementation should be defined by what your team really does and really needs to get their jobs done.
It’s not a matter of calling central casting and getting someone who can match the attributes of a role. It’s all about defining the job and matching software to the needs of that job and person. The software must adapt to the needs of the organization and people within the process.
A few ERP vendors offer something more like predefined templates for roles. These are built to be tweaked, combined or customized to fit the reality of the actual job or position. In some cases an individual may have multiple roles and work via multiple templates to accomplish their jobs.
This is the reality of the work place. Most of us multi-task, most of us are responsible for more than one narrow part of a process. Our jobs evolve and change because we demonstrate competencies and shortcomings over time. It’s is a good thing. This is how people bring creativity into their jobs. Tasks and responsibilities are added as a result of successes and taken away as a result of failure.
Find a role based model that promotes this kind of process rather than embracing a system that stifles the very creativity that can make your enterprise thrive. Leave the pre-scripted roles to Hollywood and central casting.