“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”—Lao-tzu
Every leader has the responsibility to turn vision into reality. Between these 2 lies the process—the path to success. You need skills and confidence to stay this course and overcome obstacles. You need confidence not just in your abilities, but in the process itself–to trust that the steps you and your team take are what you need to succeed, so you don’t get anxious, frustrated or lost.
Many people don’t understand the importance of this. Even corporations are often led astray by their own leadership hiring process, which can cause them to fail. When recruiting new leaders, people don’t see beyond the vision, thinking that’s all it takes. They don’t see the long and winding road, the grit and determination necessary to get from here to there. Maybe it’s time to start hiring the doers: The ones who turn dreams into dreams-come-true.
And, here’s why:
1. Success is as much about the how as the why. Everyone has reasons why they want to do something. Now ask them how they’re going to do it. Funny how silent people get. I’ve seen it often in my work: once you get to the steps of actual implementation, the level of confidence and conviction goes down. Way down. Especially as the realization sets in that it takes a great deal of patience and resources to get from start to finish.
2. Everything important is a process. Even leadership and teamwork. Your company is made up of methods—ways of delivering the dream. How can you have a successful company if you don’t have faith you can develop and execute these processes well?
3. People have no clear direction without it. If you’ve been following banking, US car manufacturing, health care or Wall Street, you understand that process plays as important a role as people in any organization. It is the infrastructure that puts thoughts into motion. Process is the what, where, when and how. Think of the workplace without them. Total pandemonium, yes?
4. Process doesn’t just impact corporate confidence. It’s about consumer confidence too. Now, think about your favorite brands, and your experiences with them. It’s not just what they promise, it’s how they deliver. For instance, I’m doing research on flights to Europe right now, and have gotten a lot of feedback on many of the airlines. Brand loyalty is firmly attached to the delivery process: ticketing, customer service, seating, in-flight assistance, on-time takeoff and landing. Process confidence has a direct impact on customer satisfaction. We want to be sure that brands deliver what they promise. And this leads me to the final point.
5. Process turns promises into results. No leader can succeed without it. Process is the second jewel in the crown of execution, bridging the gap between people and strategy. Leaders can dream and strategize all they want. At the end of the day, outcomes are the only things that really matter.
In this rapidly-changing world of work, process needs to be understood more now than ever before, and cannot be taken for granted. Even the best leaders cannot perform or produce without confidence in the methods that will take them and their teams to success.
Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan