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Learning to Trust the Process

In business, non-profit and for-profit alike, it is important to understand 3 major keys to getting employees to “trust the process” especially if you are going through a time of losing.

Each year I witness several NBA basketball teams who eventually come to the realization their chances of competing for a championship are very slim. As a strategy, team executives work to protect their assets by “tanking.” By doing this they protect their star players from injury and build the value of younger prospects. This forfeiture of the season is always done while asking their fan base to “trust the process.”

While instituting this practice the marketing and public relations departments are tasked with assuring fans and stakeholders that there is a plan in place to turn things around. Naturally, it is a hard pill to swallow. Watching your home team fail to compete can be unbearable but if there is a plan in place, that all are aware of, it can make the process a little more tolerable.

1. Trusting the process requires dissecting your own processes and practices on a regular basis. Neither winning nor losing happen overnight. Winning and losing are a part of a journey in which research, time, and analysis are critical to making informed decisions on your organization’s next move.

No matter what processes or lack of process you have in place it is important to practice effective evaluation. Doing so is central to staying up with or surpassing your competition. This takes time and is always worth it in the end.

As an example, and perhaps the most interesting case we have in this country, industry giant Amazon required 14 years or 58 quarters to turn its first profit. In order to turn their first profit, it required a multilayered series of evaluations in order to gather data and information which helped the company improve its processes and practices.

2. Encouraging your employees to trust the process also requires leadership to learn how to trust their employees. If your hiring process is sound, and you know that you have the right people in the right positions, then it is incumbent upon you to remind your employees of that. Your office is filled with highly talented, dedicated, and competent experts in their field and through encouragement and empowerment they will contribute to the organization’s success and most likely help pull the organization out of its current rut. Your trust in them will build or rebuild their trust in you. So, provide the road map and get out of their way.

3. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, you must recognize that employee behavior is a symptom of their environment. Thriving employees are a product of environments where they understand their role, are provided clear expectations, have achievable goals, and are invested in, both as employees and people.

Employees that fail to thrive, if your hiring practices are sound, are also products of their work environment. You must ask yourself if you are communicating effectively, as an organization? Have you considered ways in which individuals receive information? Is the failing employee’s department properly staffed? Are there other employee needs that are not being met? It is just as important to listen to employees in times of winning as it is to listen to them in times of losing.

Trusting the process, in itself, is a process. From communication to evaluation to taking in all the data available, it is imperative that those in leadership take their time while making decisions. Those same leaders should also appreciate that their employees, who have a vested interest in the organization's success, want to win as well.


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