Understanding how process impacts outcome can help avoid useless meetings

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My first article in Quartz!

Earlier this year, when I was learning how to facilitate a specific type of workshop, a colleague revealed the secret to making it great: understanding the outcome and keeping it in mind throughout the entire process.

If the team isn’t focused on the outcome, than they’re just performing a process.

Now, I see this phenomenon not just in workshops that I attend or facilitate, but everywhere.

Management is full of mechanics that could easily become process performances. One-on-one meetings. Feedback cycles. Team meetings. Retrospectives. These are not inherently useful activities (and I’m sure we’ve all been in some of these that felt extremely pointless). They are useful only in service of some kind of outcome.

The key is to consider the outcome as you design the process, and to pay close attention to the behaviors that emerge as you introduce the process. Behaviors are the link between processes and outcomes—processes encourage behaviors that create outcomes.

Continue reading…

Thanks to Belinda, @folletto, and @mnowster who helped clarify my thinking.

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