Process can be liberating

Process is often thought of being a necessary evil—HR needs us to do it like this, the PMO insists we report progress in that template, and so on. It’s often seen as an annoyance, but hopefully tolerated.

But the other week I spoke to a CEO who was enthusing about a process in his company, that operated across all teams. It was about planning work in small increments, working as a team, tracking things simply, and trying to reach an achievable and near-term goal. You might know something similar.

What caught my attention—apart from his enthusiasm and his talk of dramatically increased productivity—was his comment that they now spend much less time talking about issues around the work, and much more time doing it. The common process removed their frequent debates about how to get things done. Almost no mental energy is spent on how to fit the work into the wider organisation—all the effort is put into doing it.

It’s easy for a process to become overblown and appear divorced from reality. But this is a reminder that a process can act as signposting that guides us in the right direction, not fence posts that block our path.

Photo by Craig Chew-Moulding