Most of us want to be good at what we do. We want to be exceptional. Figuring out what it takes to get there is tough. We need to know what excellence looks like, we need a realistic assessment of where we are and we need insight into how to keep moving forward in a way that supports continued growth. The challenge is that most of our formative learning periods have specific stages and outcomes that signal when we have arrived. The journey to excellence is a little bit more circuitous.
Process is important. It provides useful and relevant guidance on how to get things done. And yet process can also be a crutch, particularly when we presume the real world works exactly as the process prescribes. For process to be useful, then, we need to rethink how we relate to process.
Process is appealing. It provides structure and guidance and rules and boundaries. The challenge is that organizations are messy and complex. Projects are difficult. They require work and adaptation. You can’t just take process from one place, apply it to another, and expect it to work properly. You need to do something else.
For some years now, the work I have done as a consultant has consciously tried to help customers recognize the difference between ‘planned’ and ’emergent’ in the work that they do, and particularly in the projects that they undertake. While the ideas have resonance, and people quickly appreciate the differences, gaining acceptance that they require […]