Updated: Feb 5, 2021
“Order and Simplification are the first steps towards mastery of a subject.”
I realize I have not just discovered plutonium. We use process every single day. It's all around us. Life is a process. From seedling to sunflower, birth to death, each one of us follows a process.
The better you become at leveraging various processes leads you to mastery whether learning a musical instrument, how to pitch softball, start an internet venture or how to deeply relax.
You follow a process to learn and achieve various tasks. You also follow process to transform your life.
Why is this true? Because process involves a sequence of steps to get things done. Usually, there is an input, a series of steps and an output. A system involves multiple interconnected processes.
I often think of coaches and process. Every legendary coach from John Wooden to Nick Saban, Bill Belichick to Pete Carroll and Pat Summit extolled the virtues of following “The Process.”
Now, imagine what following a process can do for you when focusing on achieving your own dreams?
We follow processes at school, work, sports, starting a business, creating innovations. This topic is as well-worn as an old shoe. But consider my perspective. If you want to improve your life in any way, achieve various goals, you will follow a process. Many times, individuals simply don’t think of it that way. And that is part of the advantage of recognizing the art of process.
Here’s an often-quoted statistic regarding goal achievement. Did you know that 92% of those who create New Years’ Goals fail to achieve them? I would argue that in most cases, those who failed, did so because they did not follow a process. They started out with a goal and little else to fuel the journey.
Of course, there are good and bad processes. A great process will make you more effective. While an effective system, will make you more efficient.
In my work at two large companies, we often spent considerable time questioning the very processes we followed in the various departments within the companies. The process of questioning the process involved its own process!
And I had an enormous amount of fun working on a team where we questioned every aspect of a business process with the eye toward improving it — even before Six Sigma arrived. This occurred early in my career and benefitted me in several ways. In the end, simple always won out in effectiveness over complex and burdensome. Simple processes are less taxing.
Incidentally, I had an equally enjoyable experience working at an Innovation Lab where we adhered to a specific discipline around a set of processes to create new products and programs. You get the point. I appreciate process! I was amazed at how creative output flowed from a well worked process and discipline.
The heart of my training system involves leveraging a six-step process. I bring nearly three decades of experience at two companies where we followed new and old processes. In this case, I studied the various processes my teams followed to reach goals and modified it for personal and individual goal achievement.
Let me outline six advantages of process mastery as it relates to achieving your goals.
Understanding the steps involved in reaching your goals, gives you greater confidence in the sequence of events. The more you practice the steps, the better you get at it. Simple. You can envision and predict what will happen. In fact, part of my process itself focuses on creating what you want in your mind. We literally work on predictability.
“The best way to predict the future”, as Abraham Lincoln reportedly said, “is to create it.”
Conscious understanding of the process needed to hit your goals increases your chances of success.
A Roadmap & Resourcefulness
When you see the steps in front of you, you have engaged part of the battle. Imagine General Dwight D. Eisenhower on D Day June 6, 1944 as the Allies landed at Normandy Beach without a roadmap to guide his troops. A roadmap is part of the plan.
However, Eisenhower said on multiple occasions that plans are worthless, but planning is indispensable — that’s because often your plans change based on circumstances. But the act of planning means you have explored options and contingencies which prepare you to alter your plan on the fly.
The exact same thing applies to leveraging a process. Your plan might not proceed exactly the way you imagined it, but preparing for change by adopting a process increases your ability to react and adjust to unanticipated challenges.
Have you ever opened a non-fiction book and instead of starting on page one, chapter one, you scanned the book to discover how many chapters are in the book? Once you do, now you have a good understanding of the total number of pages, chapters, sections the book covers.
Your increased awareness of the outline of the material just gave you a leg up in your journey. Increased awareness also helps you mentally prepare for resistance. Resistance is good, but that is a typical failure point for many.
Any good process will involve steps or skills that need to be mastered along the way. That means you have just increased your portfolio of skills. Sometimes, the skill you master is resilience! In our program, one of the skills involves creating well defined goals as well as leveraging your imagination in multiple ways along the path.
If you want to fully engage your internal power to realize any change, igniting your creativity will help. That means leveraging your imagination to create in your mind what you want to achieve as part of the process. Increasing the power of your imagination, or perhaps, harnessing it — is a benefit of using certain processes. Of course, there is a process associated with creativity itself.
In our program, we focus on unleashing and sharpening your creative potential — by working your creative muscles through visualization.
The most obvious benefit of leveraging a process is mastery of the different steps to create what you want. In any process, there comes a time when skill building is required through focus, repetition and discipline. True mastery will not come automatically. Oftentimes, new goals mean you are attempting to do something you have never done before. There will be moments of failure.
But when you get back up after a failure point and make another attempt you are teaching yourself resilience. The more times you get back up and make progress, you increase mastery and ultimately, growth. In the teams that I have led, I repeatedly witnessed individuals fall momentarily, but then get back up as part of following a process. Our coaching model ensured that we continue to make progress no matter what even after we might have faltered multiple times. Again, we taught ourselves mastery, in this case, over resistance and change.
Keep in mind that my process focuses on the steps that will accelerate your efforts. I’ll give you more details in the posts that follow.