7 Ways to Keep Your Process on Track

“With the pace of change accelerated for most people, the importance of following a process becomes an important, critical and really effective tool. The process is as important as the results it produces.” ~ Deborah Shane

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How does anyone navigate change, be it business or personal? Whether it’s changing jobs, lifestyle, health or where you live, the unexpected is part of our lives today in a more relentless way then ever before. I’m thinking of real examples of people I know who have been thrown into the unknown. That unknown is producing some extraordinary outcomes because each one is following a process.

I just spoke to an old high school friend who made a bad decision to practice medicine in the wrong way and lost her license.  And then there’s a seasoned HR professional who was just let go after being at the same company for 16 years.  An unexpected visit to the doctor by a childhood friend just revealed a serious fight with cancer (fortunately, she is winning).  And then there’s the 50 percent drop in business the last year by a well-established company that did not keep pace with trends.

Change – the cheese moved, the situation unexpectedly shifted, and a radical new reality is now in place. What do you do?

You follow a process and move through and with your new reality.

A process offers a set of steps, protocols and principles that go into place in a sensible order. They are designed to restore perspective, functionality, effectiveness, efficiency and wellbeing. Regardless of the situation you are facing, defining a process, implementing it and regularly monitoring it can give order and meaning to the results.

The verb “process” describes “the action of taking something through an established and usually routine set of procedures or steps to convert it from one form to another. A process involves steps and decisions in the way something is accomplished, and may involve a sequence of events. The process that one follows is as important as the results that are produced by the process.”

Are you following a process to move things forward, or are you stuck or aimlessly drifting?

Here are 7 areas I regularly review to make sure my process stays on track:

  1. Making sure that my vision is clear about what I do and what I am supposed to be doing. It makes it easier to stick with it and persevere.
  2. Making sure that my mission is clear about why I am doing what I am doing. It is about making money, but helping people is my “why.”
  3. Constantly reviewing that the fundamentals are in place for doing exceptional work and following the best practices available today.
  4. Staying on top of and following the trends; this forces me to pay attention to change and keep up with it.
  5. Staying focused on serving my target market to grow my business and build community, engagement and goodwill.
  6. Nurturing and having a mindset and attitude that is positive, authentic and kind.
  7. Checking my motives and making sure they are based in the right reasons for everything that I do.

If all of those areas are clear, on track and working together, then I am better equipped to deal with and manage those external conditions I have no control over, because I have a process and a system in place that guides and moves me. Sometimes it’s lateral, sometimes it’s vertical,  but the process moves me.

That doctor friend of mine who lost her license is learning new sales and marketing skills representing a direct selling product and feeling quite re-energized.  The seasoned HR professional is building a consulting practice specializing in coaching and training people through career change.  That childhood friend who has been fighting cancer is improving and enjoying picking apples and milking a cow with her family.  The established business has rejuvenated its marketing, product delivery and social media engagement.

They are all following a process and moving through and with their realities one day at a time, one step at a time.  That’s the beauty of a process. It guides and moves us naturally.

How do you process?

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Deborah Shane Deborah Shane has been recognized as a Top 100 Small Business Champion and Top 50 SMB Influencer (Dunn and Bradstreet 2015). She is a career transition author, personal branding and social media specialist. Deborah's book "Career Transition: Make the Shift" is available through all major book sellers.

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