Almost all the work I do involves a computer, whether I’m at home or on the road. One of those things I always try to do if I have a bottle of something is to keep putting the top on after I’ve taken a drink. It’s time consuming, but the one thing I don’t want to do is spill water on my keyboard; it’s the most problematic issue I’d have to deal with on a normal day.

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Karsten Schmidt via Compfight

Of course, a couple of weeks ago I didn’t follow that process. I also failed on another process, where I had the bottle close to my keyboard, something else I also try not to do. You know what happened; I wasn’t paying attention to where the bottle was and it tipped over… barely missing my keyboard and the bit that fell on the floor barely missed the power strip that’s not quite under the desk but close enough to throw a scare in me.

The reason we need to have processes in our lives is because they keep us from doing something wrong that we can control. Not every process has to do with major problems.

I’m probably not alone in having a process for how I put my clothes on. My process is probably different than yours though. If I’m planning on leaving the house I always start with my socks, left foot then right foot. Next comes my shirt, then my pants, then my belt and finally my shoes. Next comes the essentials; pen, Chap Stick and the small cloth to wipe my glasses in my left pocket. My wallet in my back left pocket. Finally, my keys in my right front pocket. My right back pocket… I’ve never used it, ever.

Why the process? Each step makes sure I don’t leave home forgetting something. This doesn’t mean there aren’t times when the process is interrupted. The essentials are always set, so that I’m not walking out of the house without being fully dressed. But I have gotten to the car without my keys, my wallet, or any of the other things that I feel are needed. That either means I have to come back into the house, or I’ve arrived somewhere missing something I knew I was going to need; that makes for a miserable time until I can get back home… especially if I leave my wallet at home. Luckily, I can’t go very far without my keys.

Take a moment and think about the processes in your life for what might be the first time. Do you think about how you breathe? How you eat? How you get places you go to all the time whether you’re walking or driving there? Isn’t it nice having processes you don’t have to think about every moment of your life? Isn’t it freeing?

Think about your business life. How many processes do you have that you follow every morning after you’ve had your morning wake-up call (I would have said coffee but I don’t drink it)? Do you have a process you follow for the work you do? Do you follow that same process every day? Is it the most efficient way to do things or is it something you’re comfortable with?

Think about process as a leader. Don’t you feel more comfortable when you know what everyone is doing, and how they’re doing it? Doesn’t it make evaluations, monitoring and production go more smoothly? Isn’t life better when you don’t have to deal with a lot of small things that can turn into big things?

If so, then why don’t most departments in businesses have written procedures? Wouldn’t that make it easier to keep everyone on an even keel? Wouldn’t it free you, the leader, to do other things because your written procedure tells everyone how things are supposed to work?

Are you a person who uses a lot of processes to help you get through the day? Are you a free spirit, someone who hates process for the most part so that every day is a new experience? I’d love to know your thoughts on this question, and wonder if you’d agree with me in thinking that process is good.
 

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