In October of 1989, I attended a three-day workshop called TRAC 5000 lead by Dr. Jim Lundy, author of the American best-seller “Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way”. Jim was my personal friend and a long-time mentor. During the workshop, Jim introduced: Process…as well as Content. Although I didn’t fully understand his teaching during the workshop, Jim was introducing me to the concept that relationships are key to effective leadership.
My first action-step from the workshop was to create a mission statement for our company. A few weeks later I called a company-wide meeting to introduce our mission statement. During the meeting, I explained to our people the meaning behind the statement, and asked if they had any questions or suggestions to improve it. Since there were few questions and little discussion, I figured that they understood and were in agreement with the mission statement. Next, I set out to find a printing company (we did it this way back in 1989) to type-set and print up copies of it for everyone.
A few days later Jim Lundy stopped by my office to see how I was doing on my action steps. I shared with great excitement that I had completed my first one. I showed Jim the mission statement that I created, explained how I called a company-wide meeting to introduce it, how I shared the meaning behind it with our employees, and since there was few questions and little discussion, I was going to have copies printed for everyone.
You’ve got to be kidding me
Jim was real excited as well. However, he suggested before going to the printer, that I go back to our people one more time for any questions about or suggestions to improve the mission statement. I was taken-back by his suggestion. I had already met, and it seemed too costly to bring everyone together again. He said he understood, but again suggested going back to our people one more time. He had one of those “just trust me” looks on his face.
Well, a few days later we scheduled another company-wide meeting for our people to look over the mission statement so they could ask questions and make suggestions for improvements. During this second meeting, all of a sudden questions and suggestions came out-of-the-woodwork. People really got engaged, and our people had some very good suggestions. I walked out of the meeting feeling that everyone, and I mean everyone, truly understood our mission statement.
In fact, since the second meeting went so well and after making the suggested changes, I called a third company-wide meeting to show the suggested changes. There was even more discussion for understanding, and a few more good suggestions were made. It was amazing how excited our people were over this. This was the first-time that I could say company-wide every employee was of one voice and on the same page.
I finally understood the concept of Process… as well as Content
This experience helped me finally understand what Process…as well as Content was all about. At first I was only focusing on the Content (the results of having a mission statement so I could check it off my list of action steps.). Jim helped me understand the importance of good Process (enhancing relationships between me and our people and also between each of our people.) By encouraging our people to be actively involved in the decision, we built a peak-performance TEAM that achieved the results we desired.
Why do you think we tend to overestimate the value of the Content (the results we want to accomplish) and underestimate the value of the Process (the relationships we want to enhance to build a TEAM.)?