Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It's all a matter of process

"I like to tell people that all of our products and business will go through three phases. There's vision, patience, and execution." ~ Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft

I've been thinking a lot about process lately. We are involved at several large scale projects at work, all of them highly cross-functional. Some of or projects have been successful or are on their way to becoming successful, and some have fallen apart. Regardless of outcome, the learning that is taking place, especially for me, is far greater than I ever imagined I would have at a job in such a short period of time. 

While success is always welcomed, I also find that I embrace failure just as well. My boss has joked with me that I can learn more from a sinking sip than one that stays afloat. When I look a projects of ours that haven't worked, I notice that one of the three elements that Ballmer outlined wasn't as solid as it needed to be. And it's important to have these three elements in that order: vision, patience, and execution.

For me, the toughest part is patience. Vision and execution I understand. Despite the fact that I practice yoga every day, that sitting still, that ability to take things one piece at a time, in turn, is difficult for me. Not impossible. Persistence in difficult times can some times seem fruitless. Though if we take the long view, I am beginning to learn, slowly, that it pays off if we are willing to stick around long enough to play out the hand. I just need to be more disciplined when it comes to patience. And that means patience with myself, as well as with others. And also, it means patience with process.     

If it works for Microsoft....

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