Its 7.10am on an autumn morning. I’m doing what I do every day – taking my dog, Benson for a walk. As well as giving Benson exercise, I get some too and it gives me space to think. Today, I start to consider how process makes up everything we do, every day, however big or small. Sometimes we think of process as a chore but without it we couldn’t exist!
I start to think about the process I go through to do something that I enjoy and comes naturally to me – putting on my walking clothes and get Benson into his collar, harness and lead. I make sure I have “Doggie bags”, dog biscuits and my phone, and off we go. The route we take is the same – through the village and into the park, round the football field and down through the wooded area.
Yet every day is different – Why?
Overall the process of taking Benson for a walk is the same but there are other influences that mean we must adapt. The weather for example – If it’s raining, I must adapt and change the clothes I’ll be wearing. In addition to Benson’s normal attire he will need his rain coat too. I also adapt for different times of the year – I said we were out at 7.10am in the morning, that’s because we waited until first light in autumn, in summer we can be out as early as 5am.
There are still things that must be the same – Benson must have a collar and lead regardless of weather or season – it helps me control him and keep him safe. Some form of “doggie bags” are another must. Apart from the fact I believe people should tidy up after their dogs, it’s also the law and you could face a fine. We walk the same route – it’s not the only route but it’s the safest and quickest. I walk on my own so if anyone needed to find me they know where I will have gone.
I said it’s never the same and this applies even more for Benson – The route may be the same but sights and smells are different – impacted by external influences.
In the world of learning and development no business requirement is the same as another – the solutions we design vary. Having a clear path that each member of the team is aware of and can follow allows us to be efficient, but we are constantly looking at ways to improve what and how we do things. Our processes have evolved, important steps and tasks still happen (as habit), but we keep learning that we have to adapt depending on influences.
As with Benson’s walk every morning, process should be an enabler not a blocker. We should be able to adapt without impacting on the important activities.
By Sally Whittaker