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Managewhich Tip: Process-Focus Ain’t a Bad Thing

Photo by Nur Hussein  - find the pic on Flickr, the story is hilarious!

Photo by Nur Hussein - find the pic on Flickr, the story is hilarious!

We hear a lot about being results-focused and results-driven.  Results are important, and somewhere along the way, we’ve lost sight of the importance of the journey.

Case and point.  In 1959, Cuba had an illiteracy rate of 23%.  Post Castro revolution, in 1961, it was reduced to 4%.   Let’s just say, this wasn’t the kindest of processes, and yet, if the focus was on the result to wipe out illiteracy, they were astoundingly successful.

We do this in our organizations, albeit in less stark ways (most of the time).  In many organizations, when there is a particular result required, the company values, the work/life balance, attention to detail, good decision making, etc. go right out the window. 

This becomes a real issue when we are engaging in activities that by their nature are processes.  We’ve become so used to getting a result that if we don’t get a result or we don’t get the result we want right out of the gate, we call it a failure and quit.  Change course. 

(Now that I think about it, some corporate change initiatives look an awful lot like what I’m describing.  We do it until the first set-back and then it’s scrapped.)

Learning new behaviors is a process.  Sometimes we get the results we want, sometimes we don’t.  The point is that if we don’t acknowledge and reflect on the process itself, we can’t make lasting behavioral change.

Consider this.  10,000 seems to be the magic number for learning how to be an expert.  Daniel Coyle talks about this in his book “The Talent Code.”   Jose Bowen, the Dean of Southern Methodist University’s school of music, said in an interview on Kris Boyd’s radio show “Think” that until a kid has logged 10,000 of good practice time, they don’t know whether they’ll have the talent to be a professional. 

Brain science backs this up.  The concept of practicing often and correctly is important in making the distinction between good and great.  So, here, the focus on a good process is what ensures the good result.

So, back to the results focus at work.  If we’re not paying attention to doing things in the way that we want to do them in the future… the process… and rewarding the process successes along the way, how do we ever get out of fire fighting?  By focusing solely on the result, we accept inefficiencies and poor practice in the path.

Be Your Best You Today,

Carolann Jacobs

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