Missed opportunities

If your organization is like most, there are many processes in place that ensure no one can make a mistake that could cost the company vast sums of money, damage its reputation, or do other terrible damage.  While many of these processes are in place for a good reason, has anyone ever looked at the trade-offs that have been made as a result?

The reason I point this out is that I find it interesting that these processes are never, ever questioned.  Even though I've watched companies miss out on very lucrative opportunities as a result of blindly following existing processes, I have been left wondering why no one questioned what else could have been done to have avoided missing out on the opportunity.  A lot of effort goes into protecting the company from harm, which makes it all the more interesting that missed opportunities are seldom viewed as harmful.

I highly value thoughtfulness, and due diligence, and I am not advocating that companies abandon all existing processes to encourage people to chase after anything they want.  Far from it.  I just wanted to point out that it does seem a bit odd that questions about the value of missed opportunities are seldom, if ever, raised.  It would be interesting to see if there are some processes that are costing more than they save.

Do you know why all the processes at your company exist?  Would you know when their use should be questioned and/or challenged?