Process is My Friend

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I’ve had several discussions with clients around process lately – the uncertainty of needing a process, the distress from lacking a defined process, the anticipated pain, time, energy to figure out a process, and then the sense of relief, ease and confidence once the process is defined. Who knew process could bring so much emotion with it?!

For years in my professional life, process brought up a lot of emotion for me as well. I was a creative and I was sure that process would make me seem and work less creatively. I tried to steer clear of process as much as possible. Yet everywhere I seemed to work, I inadvertently became involved (and passionate) about process. Most of the situations were identifying an ineffective process and then creating a much needed improvement for it. I really just wanted to do my job without involving acrobatics every step of the way.

I found myself creating a booklet on how to do my job duties, creating databases to more efficiently gather information and designing new or improved processes for my work groups to follow. I was even assigned as a member to a process improvement team – eek, my worst nightmare! Now, I have since accepted the fact that I am a creative person and also a process junkie – though it did take me nearly a decade to realize this.

A few months ago I read Orbiting the Giant Hairball by Gordon MacKenzie. In a chapter named First There’s Grope, Then There’s Rote, MacKenzie discusses how to maintain creativity and uniqueness by embracing the unknown and chaotic – groping for the answer. He continues to explain that once a routine (or process) is formed, you become rote, predictable, and…..uncreative. Ugh!

So I wasn’t necessarily scared of process, but I was scared of becoming rote. Once I accepted that I could still be creative while passionate about order, I began to truly appreciate its value. Through all my work experiences, I found a way to be creative by using process as a very focused tool.

When used appropriately, defining a process can be super powerful. It can help clarify the unique way of how you do your work – and turn that into a selling point. Process can create guidelines to follow so that you can consistently offer quality work – that is definitely a brand image you want to project to clients. It is a great way to build a strong foundation for your work and effectively get things done.

I am now proud to say that process is my friend.

How about you? Do you love or loath process?

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