27th February 2014

It Is All A Process! by Ian Kinnery

High performance is all a process. Counterintuitive though it seems I am now convinced that this is pretty much a universal truth.

I once thought that high performance was all about flair, about sudden, inspired, out of the norm, talent.

Many years ago I remember Ron Dennis the boss of McLaren Formula 1 team responding to a question about David Coulthard’s future with the team by stating that he had completed 20 laps within 0.1 of a second of each other as an example of DC’s excellence. Years later at an IoD conference I heard Michael Johnson, the Olympic Champion and World Record sprinter telling how he finally won the world record by “eliminating the mistakes” in his world record run. This blew me away. How many steps could there be? How many opportunities to make a mistake and yet it was the elimination of mistakes that gained him that elusive world’s best time.

Reading about, studying and talking to many different experts in their field I slowly and belatedly started to realise that high performance is a result of great processes executed faultlessly time after time rather than of prodigious talent. There have been plenty of books written about the myth of talent over consistency and what we now call “deliberate practice”, the majority of them relating to the sports environment.

There is a lot that all business people can take from these studies and they all start with the concept of process.

A process is defined as “a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end”.

And with that simple definition there is a whole range of improvements we can make.

I wonder if we have processes in our business for all of the major tasks that we undertake? Tasks like raising invoices, chasing debts, selling, carrying out management meetings, daily huddles, staff appraisals, to name just a few.

And if so are they written and documented? If not how can you guarantee their consistency? How can you make sure that they can be replicated precisely whenever the staff changes? How can you polish and perfect something that only exists is the head of an individual? How can you critically analyse something that is just the “way we have always done it here”.

If there is a way, there is a better way and a best way. How sure are you that your business represents the best way to do all of those myriad things that make up your business?

Sure there may not be a seat in the top team in F1 or a world record at stake but in a world where anyone can sell anything, to anyone anywhere can you afford the consequences of a business that does not embrace the fundamentals of high performance?

There will be a Free Seminar in April where we will be exploring many of the concepts behind creating a high performing business. Click Here for details and to reserve your place.