Trust The Process (Part 2)
If you know me at all, then you’ll already know I love this expression and the mindset it represents. TTP, is about planned, sometimes slow, and certainly methodological progress. Executed well, it can remove some of the business-owner uncertainty we feel we all have to live with, and allow a calm, pragmatic, approach to growing your business.
Of course to even start you need to have a process to trust. This means:
- Having a defined vision, your ‘why’.
- Planning out what the ‘system’ looks like; How things work – the sequence of actions and cause and effect that will take you there.
- Putting it into action, and sticking to the script.
When you create a process, and apply the process, over time you get to Trust the Process.
It’s a concept with roots in US basketball management – if you’re curious, Google it’s etymology; it makes for an interesting read.
At it’s heart, Trust the Process is all about having a vision and a plan to build something better, be that an NBA team, a business or anything else. But it is not for the faint-hearted. It takes grit, determination and requires you hold your nerve throughout.
Done well, Trust the Process thinking allows you to create something robust and resilient. It builds in sustainability because you’re not over-exposed to borrowed systems or generic solutions. You produce something that’s all yours, based on your unique vision and values. This makes it near impossible to mimic or buy. It is a genuine, one-of-a-kind article.
So what else should you know before you commit yourself to the TTP mindset?
The Process Is Liberating
Adopt this mindset, and you could find it alters your perspective and gives you a new-found confidence to make decisions differently – and irrespective of the immediacy of the results. You may take to backing the outliers. Or, perhaps feel so empowered you bring in fresh, raw talent or techniques, and make them your own. All this is possible because you have understanding of, and confidence in, the process; and so, what’s supportive of the process, and what’s a distraction.
The Process Takes Time
It’s likely you’ll have doubts along the way. But there’s no point shouting ‘are we there yet?’ every few minutes. Some journeys take time, and this is one of them. There’s definitely an element of Keeping the Faith.
Sometimes you can speed things up – maybe you can buy data, publicity, awards … but there will always be things you can’t buy or build overnight. Authority and leadership have to be nurtured and grown. The same is true for trust and reputation, and even communities and genuine engagement – none of them are instantaneous. But it is okay. This is where your sustainability comes from.
The Process Requires Planning
You can’t wing the process, so be sure to polish-up on system thinking and classic planning techniques. You will need to set a target vision and use proper goals and milestones and performance indicators (KPI’s) to track your progress and ensure you stay true to the plan. If you find yourself drifting, stop, realign and then resume the journey.
The Process Requires You
This is something you can’t outsource. The process needs you. It needs:
- Your Self-belief: You may feel at times like you need nerves of steel, but self-belief is a close second. You can’t kid yourself. You have to believe that this is the right thing to do and the right time to do it. To ensure forward momentum, you may even have to cut loose your lifeboats or brick up the door you entered through if it means you move toward progress. But remember, results take time. You will have to hold your nerve and persevere even when you don’t see immediate results, and especially when people question what you’re doing and where the results are. For this reason, both your vision and plan must be strong enough for you to keep the faith even when the noise from your competitors and naysayers is deafening. Could you do it?
- Your Expertise: Confidence comes from experience and expertise. This means both looking inward to your own skillset, and also beyond it. Trust The Process can mean relying on an expert. Giving them authority and the autonomy to do what they do best, so you can do what you do best. But that does not mean absolving yourself of responsibility and ownership. The arrangement should be one of collaboration, not abdication.
- Your Resilience: That is, to bounce back from setbacks. Taking a leaf from it’s sporting heritage, Trust the Process may see you lose a lot in the short-term to win big in the long-term. Make it a learning process. Watch and retune as required. But remember, retuning does not mean you abandoning the plan, it means adjust, not pivot. Sometimes failure (and learning) is part of the process. It’s a risk we take when we test our plans and theories. But it’s not necessarily bad; it’s how we learn and develop (see Are You Failing Enough?).
- Your Patience: As I’ve already mentioned, results can take time to materialise. This is not an instant cause-effect situation. You will need to learn self-discipline and patience to hold back from interfering or else risk disrupting the process.
- Your Understanding: You can only trust something if it’s there, and you understand it. If you don’t quite ‘get’ it or you’re only half sure, you will invariably struggle. So before you begin, define your process. Create systems, ways of doing things consistently and efficiently. Dig deep and learn everything you can about your marketplace, your customers and what you do. Specifically, the point of what you do. How does it create value for your customers? To help, complete these sentences:
- ‘What I will do with the business is …’
- ‘This is how I’ll do it …’
- ‘This is how I’ll check progress …’
- ‘This is what I’m doing now to get moving on it …’
If you don’t get this now, how can you build a business or a system of processes around it?
Because of all the above, Trust the Process thinking is certainly not for everyone.
If you don’t like to view your business as a ‘system’ (with inputs and outputs and processes), or if you want Immediate Results Now!!! then you’ll find TTP frustrating, a little too much of a game of patience.
But. If TTP does resonate with you, and you set it in motion, measure, learn, revise and improve, then what you’ll be creating is a sustainable, scalable, trust-able business that will work for you. Personally, that’s why I left the corporate world and started my own business 5 years ago – to create something new that would work for me, not just to be a slave to a different system.
How about you?