management mindset process Oct 12, 2020

Have you ever experienced that sense of foreboding that comes from someone entering your office, closing the door behind them with a stricken look on their face?


There is that moment when you realize that however your day was going, it's about to get worse.


What do you say when they tell you that they messed up?   The "thing" didn't happen.  It got lost in the mail, but they didn't catch it until now.  And it's bad.


You can't tell them that it's OK, because it's not.  A client may have been harmed.  It's a big deal.  It's not OK.


Do you fly off the handle?  Do you start the blame game?  Or sit there stoically with your frustration tucked neatly away?


Whenever something goes wrong, I always start with the assumption that what happened is a failure of process.  Once we have figured out the details and have dealt with any short-term repercussions, I pivot to exploring the process. 


Do we have a process that we didn't follow?  If so, we need to re-confirm that process and put more checks in place. 


Or do we need a new process to prevent the mistake from happening again?  If so, how do we integrate the new process into our practice?


If your team is anything like mine, mistakes are few, but taken very seriously.   It's wonderful that they care so much, but it can be debilitating when something goes wrong.


Taking the focus off of the person and putting it onto the process lets the shame of the mistake dissipate and everyone get focused on the solution.


You can say to them…It's not you, it's the process!


Let's fix the process, document the process, retrain the process and prevent this from happening again.


We deal with peoples lives and livelihoods.  We deal with millions, tens of millions of dollars and mistakes have repercussions.  But mistakes will happen!


Even the best factory in the world has a certain percentage of defects per hundred units.  If we do hundreds of transactions a year, mistakes will be made. 


Assuming you have competent, conscientious staff members, you have to find a way to deal with these mistakes with aplomb or the stakes will get too high.  You have to instill a growth mindset in your team or they will find a lower stress job that will allow them to sleep at night.


It's not you, it's the process!  Opens the door to inquiry and problem solving.  It takes the blame out of the equation and allows the team to approach the issue objectively. 


I used to be really bad at this.  I used to get all worked up.  I used to be quick to blame.  I saw, firsthand, the damage that my temper and lack of perspective caused. 


If you've got great people, they are more important that any one mistake or even any one client.  Because some mistakes are inevitable, even replacing the person doesn't prevent problems. 


We have to learn to turn problems into solutions.  If you bring a spirit of inquiry to every challenge, they are all an opportunity to build a better, more effective practice over time.


So, next time something goes wrong, remember to say, "It's not you, it's the process!"


With Purpose,




If you like the idea of building a process-driven practice, but struggle with how to develop, document and implement processes, you should join us for this month's IMPLEMENTATION Monthly Mastermind call.


On our live group coaching call, I will be sharing exactly how I think through problems and build and document processes in my practice.  I will walk you through exactly how I created a process when compliance moved our cheese recently.  And we will spend some time talking through the challenges that our members are facings right now and how to draft processes to improve outcomes in their practices.


Here is the best news of all…you can join us live and/or enjoy the recording absolutely free!  Using the link below, you can get a free trial month of the IMPLEMENTATION Monthly Mastermind.  I hope you will take me up on the offer and join us for our Oct 30th call so that I can help you build a PROCESS-DRIVEN PRACTICE!

 IMPLEMENTATION Monthly Mastermind 


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