Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Process and Results – Worthy and Wanted

The place that this story happened is in the European Headquarters of ‘High Tech’ corporation. The employees that worked in the building had complained to the European management about their working conditions. They complained about the way the building was laid out, how it functioned and how it felt to work in it.

He heard their complaints but told them that he could do nothing about their problems. He said he was too busy to take on the responsibility for remodeling their work space himself, but he was willing for them to do it if they wished.

Can you imagine if you were there among those employees what you would think?

In William Bridges book “The Way of Transition” he describes the situation.

The employees at first were hesitant. They knew nothing of architecture or interior design. They didn’t have the authority to spend any money. They had no idea of working with the different people like designers, engineers, tradesmen etc. Hesitantly they began to take on the task. Ultimately they completed the task. The building transformation had taken place.

“The results of their efforts was not only a building that was both efficient and beautiful, but also achieving a whole new level of self confidence and sense of power. As their morale rose, their productivity did too. And in the process, they learned that morale and self-confidence is not produced by design spaces but by the experience of taking a journey out of an old world, through the world of a strange and novel experience, and back again to the old (but now renewed) world.”

Bridges went on to describe the story unfolding for the High Tech company. With the transformation in the European operation it was decided that the company wide managers would hold their next meeting in this facility.

The employees made the presentations about what had happened. They told their stories. Everyone was greatly impressed with the results. Their new energy, higher morale, and higher productivity – was from their boss’ view the “invisible” product of their task.

The First Question from the visiting managers was… “The building is great! Where can we get a copy of these wonderful plans?”

William Bridges shared this story with the following point…
“The audience totally missed the point. To them the process was only a way to get the result. They didn’t want to go through the process… only to get the results.”

This powerful story is so important in what we do. We want to do something. We want to accomplish something. Most importantly – WE WANT IT NOW. We do not want the process… we want the results.

On the Bulletin Board in our SEB class room there is an almost Business Plan pinned there to look at. A former student allowed their business plan to be on display for other students to look at. Our instructor explained what it was and that we were not allowed to photo copy it… or photograph it… a strange comment to say the least – when I first heard it.

The Business Plan that is developed must be your own. It will be as unique as you are. It is developed out of a “Process” – which eventually give you a “Result”. If it is designed this way and developed this way it will have a better chance to succeed.

Now that is true if your product is worthy and wanted – in my mind the two “W”s. Worthy and Wanted two powerful ideas to consider each time I make something.

In a design and production shop not far from Peterborough I met a man that makes furniture for a living. His chairs are very unique and sold all over the world. These chairs are constructed from wood in very unusual shapes and designs. The chair not only is something that you sit on – but also something fills a space in someone’s home. Therefore it should be a piece of art.

Everyone in our touring group kind of gasped when we heard that each chair sells for about $15,000 dollars! Can you imagine eating at a table and chair set that might soar past $100,000 in value!

The idea of making something that would sell for a high price is tantalizing to any artist. But the idea of doing all the work to first design and then construct each chair by hand – even having to design and construct special machines to just make the one chair demonstrates one important thing – PROCESS.

The chair that we saw in the shop was WORTHY and WANTED… and the new owner was happy to pay the amount of money that was asked.

What has this to do with you and me?
There are times that I hate waiting. Starting a ministry or a business seems so slow. Why not just open the doors of the new business and get on with it. Make something and sell it. Why waste the time messing around with a plan?

Messing around, thinking it through, and preparation is the key to the PROCESS… which will then bring the RESULTS.

Last evening I had time to carve more Feathers – getting ready for the day that I can sell them. I thought long and hard on how I had arrived at the place I am with my carvings. I would have never thought of pushing my carving to this level when I began 42 years ago. That first Jackknife would have never done this job. Further more if I had the equipment then – that I have now – I would not have known what to do with the tools. It has taken a long process to bring these results.

Think of your own work and life now. How much of a Process did it take to get you to where you are now? There may have been some mess ups – but they were still part of the Process that has brought you the rich results that you are now enjoying.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Dad
I was reading about a professional speaker who had been at it for 10 years. When asked how long it took to prepare his latest speech, he responded, "Over 10 years". That's how much experience it took to come up with that idea and to be able to express it in just that way. Likewise, if someone asks how long it took to carve that feather, you can tell them, "Over 42 years."