Wednesday, December 28, 2016


I found myself discussing the importance of 'process' with someone recently.  The essential:  If the process is well thought out and well executed, then the outcome will be shaped accordingly. This was my observation shaped by decades of business experience.  I was speaking specifically in terms of leveraging the expertise of different constituencies to tackle large organization/institutional initiatives.  But it applies to solo endeavors as well. 

What am I talking about?  I'm talking about the importance of overlaying a solid process to achieve a desired outcome.  It means that whatever goal we are tackling, our process that we develop (and follow!) toward achieving that goal is one of the greatest predictors of our success in reaching that goal.

Some examples.  If we want to get physically fit, then we need an exercise plan that will incorporate nutrition, strength, cardiovascular and flexibility components to achieve optimum results.  If we want to be fiscally fit, then we need a financial plan that will incorporate proper savings and spending levels, and an investment plan that makes sense for our risk profile.

Hopefulness that in our doing nothing will yield great results will universally result in poor outcomes--unless one is extremely luckily.  My sitting here typing coupled with great hope that my cardiovascular fitness will improve will yield a disappointing result. Living beyond one's means consistently will not yield good results for long term savings.

There are many other types of examples. Regardless of our goal, the same overlay stands: a considered approach to any desired outcome is the result of good planning and hard work.   Thus, the aphorism, "Luck is where opportunity and preparedness meet."

Notwithstanding our  best efforts to consider all things in our plan,  we can be certain that unanticipated events may unfold.  No one has a crystal ball.  No one.  So when such things happen, having some grace and courage under fire helps us craft Plan B. There's no shame in having a Plan B.  I've been in business situations where I have had to have a Plan C in addition to A and B. 

The key to successful execution on those plans (any plan) is simply to say if "X" happens then I will do "Y".  The discipline is to not shrug when "X" presents itself, but rather to act.  If I have another accident in my car, I will take driver's lessons.  If my weight gets beyond ###, I will cut back on sweets. 

Simply put: 
  • Set a goal.
  • Define desired outcome(s).
  • Plan a strategy.
  • Execute a strategy.
  • When shit happens, adjust accordingly.

Shit always happens which is why it was my favorite bumper sticker in the 1980's.  True then.  True now.  Naturally the upcoming New Year is rousing such thoughts.  I'm going to dial back to 2008 when I produced a Mind Map of my resolutions...(Rummaging in blogger bin......)  Here it is.

It is sad to have to put 'fun' on a resolution list.  But this was my "balanced score card approach".  It does long as one maintains the rigor of managing by it.