Trust The Process (Part 1)

In our contemporary, fast-food, ‘show me the money’ culture, we’ve grown accustomed to quick results and fulfilment on demand. Modern technology has streamlined nearly every process, and today there’s an app for most things.

Whether we want new clothes, a taxi, or a freshly baked sourdough pizza from the charming Italian restaurant in town, we can have it all and delivered straight to our door with a few taps and swipes of a smartphone.

But it’s not just goods and services that have gone the way of fast-food. Information and knowledge too, are now more readily accessible and available for instant delivery. When we want to learn something new, for instance, we no longer need to look for a local evening class. Instead, we hop on the internet and in a few seconds we can find hundreds if not thousands of articles, cheat sheets and YouTube tutorials that can distil even complex concepts and topics into easily digestible segments.

And, let’s be honest, this is pretty brilliant:

  • ​We can access tried and tested processes without ever having to reinvent someone else’s wheel.
  • We get the fast results we’re looking for.
  • We can save time, which can then be spent on the areas where we add real value and can make a difference.

But are we sometimes missing something?

If you’ve never baked your own sourdough pizza bread then yes, you’re definitely missing out. And when it comes to certain outcomes, being an expert in your field, for example, there is no fast-food route to shorten the time required to study your art properly,  nor minimise the effort needed to develop and refine your skills.

As for entrepreneurship, on the other hand, there is some scope to apply fast-food principles to increase profits.

How do you quick-start your business? Typically, you either:

Outsource: This is one of the best means to extend your capacity and expand your earning potential. But while I’m all for collaborating to achieve sustainability, you still need to be creating something of real value somewhere along the line. Otherwise, you’re just a replaceable intermediary waiting to be streamlined from the process.

You must also be mindful of  how reliant you are on others as this introduces vulnerability – Watch out for when ‘smart leveraging’ starts to feel more like ‘uncomfortable dependence’ or ‘over-exposure’, else you risk becoming a mere subject to the whims and power of others.

There’s also a lot to be said for doing. If someone keeps selling you fish, you’ll never learn how to catch your own. This might not be a problem in the short-term, but when the fisherman retires or is subject to a hostile takeover and triples the price? Not to mention, it costs – you’re handing over a portion of your takings to be someone else’s profit.

Put in massive upfront investment: If you have the resources, you could buy a ready-made business like a franchise or purchase off-the-shelf-business components. If you’re Richard Branson, this is a great option. With cash behind you, you can set up premises, commission a sophisticated, multifunctional website and engage a talented sales and marketing agency from day zero to kick-start the whole project.

But not everyone has such unlimited resources, or even wants to be running with someone else’s idea. Most genuine entrepreneurs I have met are doing it because of the cool satisfaction and rewards that come with building a business from zero. Creating something that did not exist before.

Cut corners: Yes, this is an option and we have all come across people who do this. They cut time and save money by skipping the necessary checks and protocols, insurances, official approvals or accreditations. However, this is super-high risk, sometimes illegal, generally unethical and often reckless. Not a smart, or sustainable, choice.

Fake it till you make it: This is less extreme than cutting corners, and I can certainly relate to the mindset. We all have to act more confident than we feel in certain situations. We have all taken on assignments where we’re extremely familiar with 80%, and ‘merely’ confident that we will work out the other 20%. However, there is a line between acting with confidence and actually faking it – claiming skills or knowledge or capabilities that you don’t have or don’t understand. After all, how would you feel about a hairdresser, dentist or surgeon who hadn’t completed all of their training and chose to blag it instead? Not only is it immoral, but you put your reputation and your customers at risk. You’re being reckless with the trust your customers have placed in you.

So what does this mean for the rest of us, who don’t have unlimited resources to throw at speculative projects, who aren’t prepared to cut corners or pretend to be something we’re not?

What can the rest of us do?

Well, we plan.

We set the desired outcome, identify the sequence of actions and cause and effect that will take us there, and we put the plan into action.

We create and we apply the process.

And importantly, we Trust The Process…

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