The Good, The Bad & The Smugly

“I’ve come to realize that the contemporary creative culture is not generating the best possible outcome.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

I attended a political breakfast not long ago, where one of the seasoned politicians was speaking glowingly of a young representative from the opposing party. It was unexpected and refreshing; however, in his rather lengthy dissertation, he was praising the young man for going through the process of investigating the issues. He explained how going through the process was the important thing, not the outcome it produced. He actually said, “It’s not important whether going through the process produces the right outcome, only that he went through the process.” And the crowd thought this was just fine. Are you kidding me?!?

So if I, as an elected official, go through the process of investigating an issue, reading up on it, talking to those involved on all sides, and then come to the conclusion that, say… all private property should be seized by the government or taxes should be raised to 90%, it would be fine because I went through the process?!?

I guess if it’s good for people who run the country to operate that way, perhaps the engineers at Boeing may want to try out some new physics processes. It doesn’t really matter if they violate the law of lift causing jets to plummet to the ground with hundreds of passengers on board – as long as they go through the process.

I couldn’t believe my ears! It was the height of arrogance camouflaged in humility, work ethic, and politeness. The outcome is the thing. If after going through the process, one arrives at wrong conclusions, either the wrong processes or the wrong people are in place. And if you have someone who thinks that’s okay, there are grave problems of a far greater magnitude. If facts, truth, and scientific outcomes are irrelevant I just have one question – without facts, truth, and science, where do the processes come from?

I am not against politicians. They enjoy many perks but done right, it is a tough job and I’m thankful for good men and women who answer the political call. Yes, there are good ones… and not so good ones. We can learn lessons from both.

In your business, make sure the right processes that lead to the right outcomes are in place. That’s what processes are for. Also make sure you hire people who are bright, can think for themselves and care whether or not their actions hurt or help the company.