The One Big Reason Your Process is the Path to Profit

The One Big Reason Your Process is the Path to Profit 150 150 Jason Forrest

Everyone loves a process when it produces results. But what about when it doesn’t? What happens then?

I’m a big process guy. I founded my company around them, to the point that the profit-driving selling methodology we teach to our clients is rooted in the process. We believe that when you find and adopt systems that work, you can radically improve your sales using the same baseline methods. You just need to trust the process, follow through and let the results take care of themselves.

In truth, it’s easy to follow processes when they work. They create true workplace cultures by placing value on the same things, generate certainty with your employees, and they drive profit in a way that more spontaneous approaches simply can’t.

The tough part is staying true to the process in the event it doesn’t produce the desired outcome. Those are the true gut-check moments, and if you want to continue growing, it’s key to stick to your guns and trust in the process.

The New England Patriots learned this lesson the hard way in the Super Bowl. Malcolm Butler was the Patriots’ best cornerback for the entire 2017 season, and he played 98 percent of the team’s snaps up to the Super Bowl. Then, suddenly, he was riding the bench. He played just one play in the big game, a meaningless play on special teams. Other than that, he sat and watched from the bench with the rest of us.

The big question: why?

Patriots coach Bill Belichick is also fond of his processes, so much so that it’s become known as the Patriot Way. Whether it was because of a team infraction or just because the matchup favored the backup, Belichick opted to stick to his system and sit Butler. It didn’t work so well. The Philadelphia Eagles racked up 374 passing yards, backup quarterback Nick Foles threw three touchdowns and the Eagles scored 41 points. They also won the game.

It’s all too easy to criticize the Patriots’ system when things don’t go right. Surely they would’ve had a better chance if they started Butler, right? If this was the result, shouldn’t the Patriots overhaul their system so this doesn’t happen again?

This same conversation happens over and over in corporate offices and boardrooms every day. An otherwise successful process doesn’t produce the desired result, and suddenly it’s time to throw it out and start over again. The problem with this thought pattern is that it doesn’t leverage past success and takes a nearsighted look at a farsighted concern.

The Patriots’ system is without a doubt the most successful in the history of the NFL. Under Belichick they’ve won the AFC East 15 of 17 seasons and won five Super Bowls since 2001. But it also hasn’t been perfect. They’ve lost three Super Bowls and even missed the playoffs twice. The temptation during those trough periods is to blow it up and start over. Clearly the process has failed, so it’s time to move on. Or so many of the prevailing theories go.

The truth is that what separates the Patriots from everyone else is that they stick to the process even when they don’t reach their desired outcome frame now and again. Setbacks are inevitable in life. No process is perfect, and even the Patriots undergo some necessary tweaks and maintenance every year. But that relentless and repetitive focus on the process over the results is the reason why the Patriots win so much, not the reason why they lose.

So even if the decision to sit Butler didn’t work out on an individual level, the systematic framework that created that decision is the entire reason why the Patriots were there in the first place. The same adherence to the process produced the Tom Brady draft pick and everything that came after. That’s why Belichick had no regrets about his decision after the game. He trusts his process in all circumstances.

Psychologists call it tunnel vision. In a crisis or a setback, it’s easiest to focus entirely on what’s happened in the moment as opposed to seeing the grand plan you’ve already put in place. Think of a child knocking down an entire Lego village they’ve built because they messed up the placement of a window in one of the houses. You’d teach them to fix the window and keep the rest of village standing, wouldn’t you? It’s vital to view your company’s processes the same way.

This is what separates companies that have long term success over flash-in-the-pan companies that have quick success and then fade away. Companies like Apple and Space X developed processes they trust even when the market dives, or when a product doesn’t work as intended. Companies that hit bankruptcy either didn’t develop a successful process, or they didn’t follow the one they already had.

This is every business’s greatest challenge and greatest reward. Develop a process that works and stick to it through tough times. You’ll be amazed at the results on the other side of the setback.

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