I see the world through a process lens, and know that not everyone does. By “process”, I mean proven, reliable methods that can help you achieve a desired outcome. The judicial system, for instance, is built on “due process” as is cooking and almost every other aspect of our lives.
I design and facilitate processes to create strategic and business plans. Some of my colleagues call themselves “process artists” which I think is quite apt.
A well-designed process is a beautiful thing. It creates a journey of discovery and learning. Each step engages participants and creates something new, often unanticipated, that feeds into the next step of the process, making the outcomes richer.
What does “trust the process” mean?
- “Be open to outcome; not attached to outcome.” These worlds come from Angeles Arrien, author of the Four Fold Way. Keep an open mind and don’t drive to a preconceived outcome.
- Persevere through the “groan zone” best described by Sam Kaner in his Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision Making. Most people will experience doubt or frustration at some stage in the process because they can’t see how the current step will get them to the desired outcome. Recognize this as a natural transition time.
- Accept that some processes can’t be rushed. As the adage goes, “It takes nine months to create a baby, no matter how many good men you put on the job”.
This might be a lot to ask people who have been subjected to painful, bureaucratic processes, forced to go through unnecessary hoops, or follow a process for process’ sake.
“Trusting the process” assumes that the process has been well designed by a creative and competent facilitator who is truly focused on achieving your objectives.