I recently admitted to colleagues that I’m becoming quite a “process person.” Translation: I’m paying more attention these days to HOW issues get discussed and HOW decisions are made.
For most of my life I was (and perhaps still am to some extent) a ready-fire-aim sort of person – reactionary and motivated by the presenting feelings of the moment. Absent have been pause, reflection, contemplation and thought.
So why this change? I think it’s because I now understand more clearly that our process choices are as important as the actual issues we grapple with (content issues).
What process does a couple use to get a divorce? What communication processes do the parents use when informing their children about the divorce?
What process does a company use when they face layoffs?
What process is used by local governments to decide the parade route for the 4th of July celebration?
Our process choices reflect beliefs about power and equity. If we mismanage the process, we now have even more to wade through – and sometimes the real issue gets lost in the haze of the botched process.
One idea? When we have a decision to make or an issue to discuss, someone needs to push pause and say, “Are we in agreement about the issue at hand? Yes? Now, what process will we use to move us forward?”