The ability to define, document, follow, monitor and evaluate work processes.


Most things happen in orderly ways. Each area in life and work often has a set of best ways or practices to accomplish them. Leaders who establish and follow well-defined processes or best practices tend to have teams that are most successful.

For there is a proper time and procedure for every delight.Eccl 8:6

Skilled Characteristics

  • Analytical

    Good at figuring out the processes necessary to get things done

  • Organized

    Knows how to organize people and activities

  • Grouper

    Understands how to separate and combine tasks into efficient work flows

  • Measures

    Knows what work to measure and how to measure it

  • Integrates

    Can see opportunities for synergy and integration where others can’t

  • Simplifies

    Can simplify complex processes into simple to understand steps

“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, then you don’t know what you are doing.”

– W. Edwards Deming

Unskilled Characteristics

  • Inefficient

    Not good at figuring out effective and efficient ways to get things done

  • Disorganized

    Works in a disorganized fashion

  • Inefficient

    Doesn’t take advantage of opportunities for synergy and efficiency with others – uses more resources than others to get the same thing done

  • Not Visual

    Can’t visualize effective processes in one’s own head

  • Not Linear

    Lays out tasks for self and others in an unorganized way

  • Complex

    Is not skilled at simplifying tasks

  • Not Detailed

    Lacks attention to detail

  • Surprised

    Doesn’t anticipate problems that will arise; not a systemic thinker

“Life is a perpetual instruction in cause and effect.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Causes of Weakness

  • Not Visual

    Don’t visualize well how things work or the process that is used to get things done

  • Non Systems Thinking

    Doesn’t view things in terms of systems and their interactions

  • Impatient

    Impatient for thinking about or documenting processes

  • Inexperienced

    Inexperienced with how to document processes

  • Disinterested

    Not interested in focusing on details or administrative tasks

“It’s a slow process. Don’t make it slower by quitting.”

– Unknown


Review the simple application steps below and choose 1 or 2 things you can do to spur yourself on to further growth.

  • Define Process

    DEFINE PROCESSES: Identify each process that your team needs defined. Consider the following questions: What do we need to accomplish? What is the timeline? What resources will I need? Who is responsible for which parts and which steps? What are the inputs (documents or resources required) to each step? What are the outputs (results) of each step?

  • Think 'What If'

    THINK ‘WHAT IF’: When defining or improving processes, ask yourself, ‘What could go wrong?’ Anticipate potential problems that could come up during the process. Rank those potential problems in terms of likelihood and severity of impact. Create a contingency plan for high ranking potential problems and/or design things into your process to minimize the risks of those potential problems.

  • Follow the Process

    FOLLOW THE PROCESS: If people don’t follow the processes, then the processes have little or no value. Stop to make sure that each person has been trained on each relevant process. Make sure to explain the ‘why’ behind every process, and every step of the process. Allow people to ask questions and even push back. If people aren’t committed to the process, don’t understand the process, don’t like the process, or don’t agree with the process, they are less likely to follow the process. Take time up front to make sure that each person understands and is committed to the processes.

  • Involve Your Team

    INVOLVE YOUR TEAM: Involve all relevant team members in the definition and creation of each process, whenever possible. This will increase their commitment to following the process, and help ensure that the process is more well-rounded and comprehensive. If your processes are already defined, then involve relevant team members in periodically evaluating processes and improving them over time.

  • Match People with Tasks

    MATCH PEOPLE WITH TASKS: Processes are wonderful, but they don’t always work well if you have assigned people to complete a task who are not well suited for the job. Make sure that you understand each team member’s passions, purpose, and skills – and match that with the right responsibilities. This helps to ensure that your staff are capable and willing to follow the processes.

  • Monitor

    MONITOR: Determine how you will monitor your processes. How will you know how well each process is being followed? Who will evaluate the ongoing effectiveness of the process? How often? What action will you take if their are problems with the process?

  • Best Practices

    BEST PRACTICES: Study others organizations, teams and individuals who have similar goals and initiative to your team. What can you learn from them?