Ask yourself, what does your company struggle with most? Disorganization? Maybe communication, at any level? Leadership? Customer service? Maybe all of the above?
I know, it’s a loaded question, and for some, almost impossible to answer. Companies and professionals struggle with a handful of different things. I’m fully aware, and I for one, struggle with many different professional tasks.
One thing when I was early in my career I struggled with the most was processes. Process at any level. Whether that be an organized work-order process, the process of communication with my peers, and even the process of how the company’s business model worked. I know, process sounds simple, so simple that the challenge of process almost sounds ignorant. But the truth is, not only do many professionals struggle with processes, but most companies struggle with the concept of process too.
What process really means?
Process can mean many different things. I could give you the actual dictionary explanation, but that just brushes the surface. Process is a series of actions or steps (verbal, physical, mental) that are taken in order to achieve a particular ‘goal’ or ‘task’. Ask yourself: How do we get from point A to point B? What’s the process?
I won’t lie, naturally, I’m a disorganized person. Over the years, trial by fire, I’ve become a very organized person. But that’s not in my natural nature. That’s because I grew up with lack of process. I come from a loving home, but it was survival of the fittest. We didn’t have strict chores, or go to church every Sunday, and sometimes we didn’t eat together as a family. Not because of hard feelings, just because there was no process. It was a loving free-for-all. So with all that being said, by time I got into my career – I sucked at process. The ironic thing though, so did my first job. It sucked at managing processes.
My first real marketing job.
I won’t call my first job out by name, but my first real job sucked at managing all different kinds of processes. Hell, my first job was even bad at the interview process – It was the easiest interview process I’ve ever been through, and both parties (myself & my first job), both got lucky we ended up together.
What I mean by ‘we both got lucky’ is this: I got the job after the world’s easiest interview. Lucky for them, they were getting a eager, ambitious, success hungry kid who was ready to try and be a kickass marketer. They were also willing to accept my failures and allowed me to grow. So in that since, I got lucky. On the other hand, they got lucky because I quickly learned after a year working this job that they didn’t really have their stuff together. What I mean by “stuff” is a laundry list of things, but the main thing was they didn’t understand the power of process. They sucked at process, so therefore they didn’t see that I sucked at process. Dysfunction and disorganization, from lack of good process, blinded them professionally.
There was no work-order process, no process of approval, no hierarchy process with executives…There was literally zero professional process. So with there being zero professional process from the company’s end, of course, there was zero process amongst the company employees.
Working there was the best first experience I could ask for. On many different levels, but mainly because it taught me how hard it can be without any true kind of process. It taught me a valuable lesson on “what not to do, and how not to be”. I didn’t want to lead my professional life with lack of understanding, and of course, not being proficient at processes. I’m a firm believer, without true process breeds true confusion. – Feel free to quote me on that.
You need to continually practice process. Always.
In my humble opinion, the first step to understanding process is the ability to listen. If you aren’t willing to listen, you’re unable to understand. Both listening and understanding run hand-in-hand when it comes to process. Just like any other craft, skill, or art you want to master – You have to put in ample practice time.
I wanted to be more organized. Mentally, I wanted to be less erratic and chaotic. The bottom line was this.. I wanted to be a better person and professional. Outside of wanting personal growth, I had to start practicing the art of process. I started practicing this in all facets of my life, professionally and personally. I started ‘really’ listening to people when they spoke. I invested more in to others than I did myself. (I know this sounds self deprecating and deep), but it’s true. Why did I do all this? Because it helped me listen and understand. Reverting back to my original talking points – You have to fully understand before the act of process starts.
Ask yourself “Why”?
So if we listen, then try and understand, to start the act of process, we then need to ask ourselves, “why”? Why are we doing what we are doing? What’s the end goal? What’s the point?
Asking why is never a bad thing. After all, one of the reasons having a process kicks ass, is to help us understand “why”. You have to understand “why”, know “how”, then know “what” to do. So always ask yourself, before any process starts. Why?
The Three P’s – Practice, professional, process.
We’ve all heard since we were young, practice makes perfect. Well, that’s almost true. I don’t believe in perfection. But, I believe in coming pretty damn close to perfection. To fully understand, and to fully become efficient at process, you have to live by what I call the three “P’s”. Practice, professional, process. You always have to practice at how you are processing your workflow. You always have to practice how you are processing your professional ideas, and most of all, you always have to practice at processing your co-workers and bosses.
Ask yourself this: Is what you do on a daily basis at work, on all different levels (communication, workflow, task lists) have a process? Does it make sense to you? Then ask yourself, does it make sense to your colleagues. Then, last but not least, ask yourself, why? Why does your process make sense to you? And if it makes sense to you, why do you think it makes sense to your colleagues? The more you question your daily professional processes, in all facets, the more you will become efficient with the art of process.
Process is a hard thing to really practice. It’s something you never master (because perfection is false), but it’s a powerful thing to be proficient in. The more your practice process in both your personal and professional life, the more you will realize how important it is. It has helped me be a better communicator, a better listener, a better co-worker, it’s allowed me to become more of a problem solver (which is badass), but more than anything a better partner. I originally wanted to become better at understanding and practicing process for my professional growth, then I realized just how much it can help you personally too. Now I know, 99.9% of you guys, my readers, visit my blog for digital marketing, branding, and career insight and tips. But this is one of those topics that can help you grow in all areas of your life. Now go out there and ask yourself, did this blog make sense, and if it did, then why? Start practicing the art of understanding processes.
Does you company need help implementing better systems and processes? If so, check out GoEdison. Experts and leaders in helping businesses become more effective with their everyday operations, processes, and systems.