Last week I spoke with a good friend who said, “If your dad gave you everything, but he never had time for you, the things would not mean anything because there was no relationship attached to the things.” WOW!!! What a powerful statement.
Do you see how the dad was focused on the things (Content – What he wanted as results intellectually from his mind? I can hear the dad say, “I give my kids everything they could ever want.”) Can you also see that the effectiveness of the Dad’s gifts was dependent on the depth of the relationship he had with his child? (This represents the Process part of the story, which speaks to the power of emotionally connecting with people to form strong relationships.)
As can be seen above, to be good parents, leaders, employees, spouses, etc., we actually need both Process AND Content. We need both the How AND the What. It is not one OR the other. Deep thought, isn’t it?
In my last blog post, I shared that there are two aspects to Process:
- How we do things.
- How we say things.
Let’s focus on how we do things — how we interact with people to set and pursue our goals.
How we do things matters
I enjoy learning about other leaders and observing what makes them successful. I’ve learned a lot from one chief executive, whose perhaps greatest skill is the way he interacts with others. He achieved an incredible increase in corporate performance by simply changing the authoritative corporate culture to one best characterized as Process-oriented teamwork.
For thirty years his organization had been run by the creative founder (a real genius) who made all the decisions himself and then dictated operating instructions to his three submissive, but frustrated, lieutenants.
After the founder moved on, this chief executive took over. He began leading his team by seeking input from the key employees before making major policy and strategy decisions. With this new approach, the company that had grown five to ten percent a year for 30 years exploded with record-setting growth. During the next 4 years he led the company to volume increases of more than 400 percent and profits that rose over 1,800 percent.
There’s a lesson here for all of us
It’s awfully easy in the short run to make quick decisions on our own, and to be curt and directive in giving instructions. However, it takes incredibly little additional time and effort to allow others:
- To contribute their thoughts on pending decisions,
- To encourage involvement,
- To ask for commitments instead of demanding them,
- To be constructive and supportive when seeking improvement,
- To be able to disagree without being disagreeable
- To capitalize on the creative ideas and support of all those who can contribute to making good things happen.
Question: What does it take to improve the way one interacts with others?
Answer: An understanding of people’s desires and needs, coupled with nominal investments of time and effort to tap the power of Process, will yield wonderful long-term returns. The increases in morale and teamwork will lead to improved performance and results.
How can you put this principle to work in your own organization?