Transitioning from Process to Results Driven

Transitioning from Process to Results Driven

In general, I think you can define people’s work by where they fall along a line that measures the underlying force of their motivation. Along this line there are two points on each end, with one being related to process and the other to results. It is within this spectrum that we have to fall in order to be somewhat successful in life. Those who fall closer to the results driven end point tend to not care so much about how they get somewhere, but rather that they got there. For the process driven, it’s more about the journey than the destination. In my opinion, people tend to float towards one or another, but is there a happy medium?

Inside of a hot air balloon at Coney Island, Cincinnati Ohio

For most of my life, I have been very process driven. I find more joy in laying out steps to get somewhere because I know a good process gets a good result. In the back of my head, I’m always thinking that there is a chance I might have to redo what I’m working on, so I’ll spend the extra time to make sure everything works and ties out. When I know the process is correct, I can be assured that the results are correct. However, there has been a change in how I approach things, both work and life in general, that has upended this methodology. And I think for the better.

My process driven approach has served me well within my background in manufacturing and construction, where planning and regularity are the keys to efficiency. However, I’ve been introduced to many results driven individuals in my current stop in the healthcare industry. In the end, patient satisfaction is of utmost importance and irregularity is commonplace. Caregivers are results oriented because patients are results oriented, and this precipitates down through the organization. As such, I’ve taken inspiration from people who are more results oriented and have been readjusting the way I approach work.

If there is one downside to being process driven, it’s that you can get too granular in how you do things and slow down your progress. Sometimes you have to make decisions on whether or not spending too much time on minutiae will bog you down. When this happens, you’re starting to take a step towards being more results driven.  When a results oriented person starts caring about documentation on how they got to their result (thus saving time for downstream work from compliance or auditing), then they’re becoming more process driven.  When a results and oriented person work together on a project the results can be spectacular, just as long as they respect each other’s boundaries, expertise, and expectations. When someone balances results with process within the constraints of time and resources, they increase their effectiveness exponentially.

Being process driven I love methodology, and being in healthcare i have come in contact more with LEAN process. Of course, anyone in manufacturing comes face to face with LEAN, but this is typically an engineering function rather than an administrative one. However, in healthcare, LEAN can be applied through administration. JDI, or “Just Do It”, becomes an important counterbalance to LEAN because it identifies items that don’t need analysis and can be done at the moment. Thus you find a parallel in life for the process driven individual. It becomes important to remember to differentiate between what can be done now, and what can have more time spent on developing a good process. It’s the balance of efficiency and effectiveness.

Most people don’t think in terms of being process or results driven, but it’s easy to find out who does simply in the way they get things done. My experience has been that executives tend to be highly results driven, while administrators tend to be more process driven. Software developers, engineers, accountants, bankers, compliance officers, attorneys, or anyone that faces a regulatory environment tend to be the latter, whereas sales or anyone responsible for product delivery fall along the former. It’s hard to say what works for everyone in particular, however, results oriented people who ignore process can deliver both spectacular as well as devastating results. Some results driven people have fallen into pitfalls that include sketchy business practices, organizational failures in terms of funding or scalability, extension of credit to unworthy customers, and in some extreme cases, fraud. In today’s world we’re under a lot of pressure to produce, but you have to do it in a sustainable way. In the end, finding a balance between the two is the best bet.