Success is a target but a wrong metric by which you should measure how well you are doing. We all want to win but when focus is on winning, we are too late to change anything. It is a
Lag Measure .
Recently, I was in a meeting were team was analyzing an Issue report. Issues have a time before which Team has to resolve them. If they are past time, it is marked late. But then a senior leader mentioned, way we track is not helping us. She suggested we measure the progress. Now the issues got marked with colors like Green-Yellow-Red before we are late. Green meaning we are on track, yellow there are issues, red needs immediate attention. So this is what I mean as Process over Outcome. This was a
Lead indicators provides you more information than Lag. They tell you the likelihood of success. When we measure using Lag indicators, we are too late to change when we figure what’s wrong. We can’t do nothing about it when we know an issue is late. But marking an issue with progress colors, show how we are doing and brings issues to the fore early on. This gives you time to adjust your strategy or fix what’s wrong.
Success is series of micro actions you stack up over a period of time.
Process is all about focusing on execution. How you go about your day and put in your work when no one is watching your back. This book
4 Disciplines of Execution, talks about execution and puts up a framework.
4 Pillars of Execution
1.Focus on Important Goals
Focus on 1 or 2 wildly important goals. Assign it a deadline.
Leading measure is what I mentioned earlier. To know how you are doing. It is like focusing on gas level to know when you have to refill rather than destination.
3.Keep a score of progress
Have a scorecard. It is a visual representation our road to success. It should be simple and easy to understand. It is a constant reminder on progress. It should include both Lag and Lead Indicators.
This will enable us to see small victories and celebrate them. This will further drive the engagement towards success.
This is where real action happens. This is where focus happens. When an individual has accountability to propel towards forward.
Success is not about one-off action. Its about executing over a long period of time. This is where process proves to be important. Process will have 5 main features built into it.
Process is stress tested during crisis and but that is when we know how good a process is.
Recently one good example I can think of is when one of the teams in Indian Premier League - CSK came down last in the table. Next year they won the League. Reason they trusted their process and executed their process well.
“Dhoni told me to enjoy my cricket and not think about the result… just enjoy the atmosphere, be calm, and once I got my eye in he was confident that I’d be able to make an impact,” the Maharashtra batsman told the CSK website before the start of IPL 2021. “I think it was a good reminder for me because all I was looking for was the result and not thinking about the process. So it helped me a lot coming from him.” source
Success is always a long term game. A good process should contain short and long term in its bag. A quote from an article about FC Barcelona soccer team from HBR I bookmarked couple of years back.
Like most organizations, Barça operates in a fast-paced environment with ambitious short-term goals. Its focus is on winning this week’s match and this season’s tournament; it’s easy to forget about the long term. In contrast, it takes around 10 years of coaching for a player to make the grade from La Masía to Barça’s first team.
Barca training involves 90 mins of coaching on ball control and tactics. Rest is about educating minds and attitude, discipline and humility. If you see as an Org they take a long term approach even though short term victories along the way is important. This differentiates them from the most.
As an individual appreciating the process than results changes how you approach success. For me it is getting back in shape after my knee injury. It might be something for you. Fine tuning the process is the key to becoming a better version of oneself and for team.
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