The last few days have been spent helping our daughter cross the first term finish line. To say that this has been a challenge for her, for us, that would be an understatement. She has always been able to start slow, pick up steam, and finish strong. This time, not having a better, more methodical process cost her valuable time and duplicated effort at the finish. She finished in a better position than she started, but with missed assignments and valuable lessons lost at the last minute, it cost her.
It allows for better preparation. Stronger collaboration. Transparent communication. When done right, it allows one to expend less energy, leverage other efforts and resources, and produce a better result. This coming from someone who more closely emulates my daughter’s behavior…get to it when I am ready, shoot from the hip, and crush it. Yeah, I am laughing at myself as I type this.
Process really matters.
I met with an associate this week who said, “we are more focused on process than we are content.” A person who himself believes in process, indicated that some are so focused on going through the steps, going through the motions, that they aren’t looking up to see what they are building, what they are learning, and how the finished product looks in the eyes of the customer. Let me say it more emphatically, sometimes we are spending so much time on a flawed process that we are left with little time to create the content that matters.
Process really matters. Content matters more.
With my daughter, we are investing in helping her to build a stronger process. To parse assignments and chip away at them methodically so that she doesn’t wind up in the same position, scrambling at the end, void of any free time or bandwidth, and shuffling off important details. The content of what she is learning is what really matters. She, like many her age get so focused on completing the assignments, that the content of the lesson risks getting lost. We do as well.
Content is critical.
We had a project at work, technically executed correctly, the pieces came together, and we met the deadline. But after shipping the final product to the customer, when we stepped back, it made little sense. No one’s fault, we just focused so much on the process that the content was lost in translation.
We, and by we, I mean many of us - we see this every day. In a rush to check a box, we miss what the intent really is. In detailing the data, we sometimes fail to step back to see what it really is showing us. To complete the task of scheduling the meeting, we sometimes don’t consider the intent of the meeting and if, perhaps, there is a better way to communicate. In the desire to complete the assignment, we often miss the opportunity to absorb the key lesson.
Process is important as the baseline, the underlying foundation. However, the content of what you are attempting to develop, trying to create, looking to communicate, this has to be enhanced by the process, not fall victim to it. If you don’t start with understanding the content and context of what you need, don’t bother with developing a process. It will likely only make things worse.
As my daughter and I drove to school this morning, this is what we discussed, as she starts her second term, hopefully shaking off the first one. As I continue on to work, I will be thinking about how we can make progress on developing the right processes that are help us to develop the best content possible. Where we may be stumbling. How we may be able to help each other, so that we aren’t expending needless energy.
Right now, I thinking about the blueberry-lemon scones at 17 Hands Coffee & Bakery.
If I am being honest!