Leadership By Process

A business is usually assessed by the quality of its products. By the word “product”, I mean goods, services, software, etc. Businesses are sometimes called by the names of their major products. When a product fails, the producer loses credibility; on the other hand, a single successful product can reward years of unrecognised efforts. Celebrities are eager to endorse successful brands and advertising agencies seek to manage their accounts.  

Companies organise huge events for product launches but have you ever heard of a process launch? People pay for products not for processes. After all, when a product is available, the process is assumed. Also, processes are hidden but products are visible. Consequently, several businesses and individuals have adopted the philosophy of not celebrating processes but the products. In their opinion, you don’t commend the process but the result. They believe that if you have no positive result, your efforts are useless. But is this true? Thomas Edison said this about his invention of the long-lasting, practical electric bulb, “Results? Why, man, I have gotten lots of results! If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is often a step forward…” Therefore, a process emerges through a period of evaluating several methods of doing something and adopting the successful one. Hence, a process itself is a product. Rather than trying to avoid failure, speed up the elimination of poor methods and the discovery of productive ones.

Danger is imminent when we drive results at the expense of processes. We may get a “result” without a proper process but we can never get quality and sustainable results without quality processes. Again, Thomas Edison said, “Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration. Accordingly, a ‘genius’ is often merely a talented person who has done all of his or her homework.” People are more inclined to see the genius but not the perspiration. People tend to celebrate the genius and forget that the brain did not use itself- there was a process. If you win once, it may be a coincidence. If you win twice, it may be luck. But when you win consistently, it has become a habit and the product of a reliable process. Choosing result over process is like choosing chicken over egg; without a great process, you will never have a great result. Do you want to achieve exceptional results? Adopt exceptional processes.