A Paradox of Process
There are not many people who will read this post. For now. theZachWhite.com is off to a slow start. But, I am totally convinced that there is something meaningful to be shared about systems in life and business.
The reality I’ve seen in the last few months is that I don’t know exactly how to share it. I’m going to try something a bit different for a while. I’m just going to start writing until I figure it out.
“Sometimes, you have to write to figure it out.” – Dan Pink (quoting his college professor)
Every time I sit down with an entrepreneur or small business owner, the conversation almost always circles back to ideas rooted in “Systems Thinking.” I love these conversations. The irony is that they are messy. Non-linear. Abstract at first. It takes a while to wrestle the problems we face day to day into submission, where we can actually put simple words to them.
The conversational process that leads to discovery about a process follows no predictable process. Huh?
Examples of systems we talk about could be a lack of disciplined habits. Or maybe an undocumented selling process. Or no consistent way to train new hires. Or allowing non-essentials to distract you from the most critical work. Or not being able to communicate your vision. Or not having a vision.
The solutions proposed are even more broad. “I read this recently…” or, “So and so said this on a podcast I love…” or even simply, “I did this and it worked for me.” I’ll be honest with you, I love this part. The entire sit-down-hash-it-out, and walk-away-with-courage-for-the-next-step is incredibly fulfilling.
You know what I’m talking about? Late night entrepreneur jam-sessions infused with espresso and copies of books like “Scaling Up” and “The Startup Owner’s Manual” lying around… next thing you know, the girl who walked in with a roadblock walks out with five new tactics and her next step identified. She walks out with renewed swagger. “I got this,” she says. She’s got courage.
That’s the reason I started this website in the first place.
I’ve begun to see a pattern over the years. At the end of many conversations, walking away with new-found courage, there is some element of systems that punctuated the ending. Implement this habit. Develop this process. Collect this data. Apply pressure over time. Try this proven tactic. Design the system, or even copy the system, then work the system.
Is there a link between courage and systems? I don’t know for sure. What do entrepreneurs want to learn about systems? How can I help? Are the concepts of lean, six sigma, and standard operating procedures worn out old rags in the closet of business consultants? What would it look like to create massive value for your business through knowledge and systems thinking?
So what’s my plan? What process will I follow to start delivering massive value to you, the reader? I don’t really know. I’m going to just start writing to figure it out.
What do I mean by that anyway? Well, I stumbled across this golden nugget of wisdom from Dan Pink. Actually, it started with his college writing professor. I highly encourage you watch the speech where Dan tells the story.
I think it’s perfectly fitting for me. In my best effort to teach about process and systems, the thing I need to do most is just start writing, start living, and stop worrying about the process and system. My own paradox of process. Thanks for the advice, Dan. I look forward to figuring it out.