don’t allow the process to supplant the goal

In a problem solving discussion, I always want to start at the beginning. It’s not uncommon for me to ask WHY something is being done a certain way in the first place. Everyone else wants to focus on the malfunction of step 138 and I want to go back to step one and make sure we should be killing ourselves to solve the problems at step 138 in the first place.

I can be exasperating that way.

Sometimes, there are valid reasons for decisions, but in my experience, a long time process can gain momentum and morph into an entity that’s attended to in place of the original goal. Maintaining the PROCESS somehow becomes the goal and the original goal – the one the process was intended to facilitate – becomes secondary.

Inevitably, small changes take place over time and if they aren’t accounted for, the process isn’t modified to incorporate those changes. When that happens, the process itself can move everyone’s efforts in a counter-productive direction – away from the original goal.


Invite those who will be impacted by change to participate in creating it.

When you need to initiate change, I encourage you to strongly consider involving the people who will be impacted by the change.

Invite their participation and genuinely incorporate their ideas and assistance in the process of:

(1) creating the plan for change and
(2) actually doing the work to carry it out.

Could the work be done faster and with less hassle by having one person do it?

In many cases, yes.

Working with others will often take longer.

it can be…messy. and inconvenient.


When process development is participatory, you’ll hear the resistance during the PROCESS instead of during (and sometimes, loooonnngg after) the deployment.

That means you’ll have the opportunity to work THROUGH details instead of spending time, effort and money recovering from problems created by missing them in the first place:

(1) taking into account problems one person working alone might miss and
(2) incorporating ideas one person working alone might not have considered.

Collectively, more people will see more problems, BUT more people will generate more – and often better – ideas because…


A diverse group of people working together will see each other’s blind spots, minimizing risk and building on each other’s ideas, leading to creativity and innovation.

#todaysread and #foodforthought inspired by “Making Conflict Work” by Coleman and Ferguson
(cross-posted on social media)

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