Trust the Process?

It is my contention that somewhere about 90% of of the biggest hurdles to overcome in any business, government, board or community group is the simple words, “Trust the Process”. Somewhere the Masters of Business Administration instructors in our Universities listened to their Philosophy Brethren until we forgot the principle of leadership and policy and started to worship at the throne of process.

Process can be established, measured and studied to death but without a reason for it being the way it is, it will ring hollow in the end. In fact, I once saw a Total Quality Management program tank and everyone was still singing the “Trust the Process” mantra. Hell, they could measure performance of each and every little thing but there was never that policy link to what the hell we should have been doing. We sailed the good ship Process down through the organization without once having someone say this is why we are doing it this way. You could lie, cheat and steal so long as your performance measures were OK. That was an organization that had been based on the principle of Leadership developing policy and then enforcing that policy. The road to being successful is marked with success not performance indicators measured and reported.

I witnessed a call center bring in a staff of MBAs. They claimed to be ISO 2000 certified and started to measure everything. That was a call center and the most important thing should have been what our customer wanted/needed and what his customers wanted. The process was highlighted and followed to the letter. Right off the bat, we found out that collecting the monthly bills was not as important as getting new customers. They bled red until that whole program went into the toilet. It was founded on a great idea and with no leadership to look at how to tweak it into reality. They processed that bugger to death. The agents would get a call from a customer who was having a small problem and could not mention that the customer was three months behind on paying his bill. We had a good process to ask the customer if he could pay his bill using a check number or a credit card but our agents could not ask the customer to pay. In fact we could add services to his bill in spite of the fact they weren’t paying for what they already had. In the periods of down time our agents could have called one or two customers a day and asked them to pay their bill. Nope, didn't happen. Many customers were kept on the system inspite of bills that ofthe exceeded $1,000. It was a well known fact that if you could not get the service in Southern California, call our call center and without question they will sign you up and keep you on their active customer list forever. Instead of becoming the provider of a comprehensive communication program with great services, they became the provider of last resort until they had to shut down because of the losses. It was like someone said, “let’s see if we can lose 20 million dollars”. They should have said, “let’s make this process work and make money.”

Now and for the next four years, we have a President and a Political party that is processing the hell out of us. Not, “Why would we spend the money to stimulate the economy or how much do we need or where should we spend it.”. When the outgoing President said I think this is going to hurt but the banks and AIG need about 400 Billion to stay in business. The President trusted the process and Congress answered that we needed a Trillion dollars and then handed the cash over to the new President. (Did you read that in spite of Barry saying it wasn't going to happen AIG still gave our almost 200 Million dollars in bonuses anyway?) He fired the CEO of GM and now is telling GM to get ready to close Pontiac. He has let Chrysler go into Chapter 11 and married it to FIAT. Have you ever owned a FIAT? About one morning in five, I would pass one on the side of the road going to college. That poor guy drove it and it wasn't suited to drive on our highways. Let’s see, we authorized the Trillion dollars to keep people working and now we are closing how many plants and how many jobs will be lost?

Last year I had to pay when I filed my Income Taxes. I was getting ready to start paying quarterly additional payments and this week, I get a notice in the mail. The President has authorized a cut in the amount withheld and I will start getting more money to pay back. Who the hell is in charge up there? Right when I need to start withholding about $300 more a month, I get a $100 cut in the amount they are withholding. It is my fault and I have to write to have more withheld, or pay a penalty at the end of the year. Stupid, stupid, stupid…. This is process without Policy, and I am not sure they would recognize leadership if it bit them in the butt.

Right when we need to have faith in Congress and the President, we find ourselves about to nationalize a major portion of the Health Care System. They will automate the records and make decisions for Doctors and Health care providers on who will be authorized care and at what cost. This is the same system that people have been throwing stones at for the Social Security System and we want them now to be in charge of health care?

Instead of Leadership, we have mixed messages and leadership applied to areas that just don’t make sense. Jeez, it seems like someone should be able to say the following five things are the most important and work on them until they are fixed one at a time. We have Congress studying the College Post Season Bowl game process. How about fixing the job losses before there are more of us on the dole than working?

I will not Trust the Process any longer. I will shout that we need leadership and solid policy. I want someone to step up to the plate and be responsible or quit if he can’t make it work. Don't stand before the teleprompter and read, make sure that the people who write for you know what you stand for and have them articulate that. Leadership and Policy based on solid beliefs will fail occasionally, but people understand a good program worked hard. Following a stupid process without knowing what the expected end result should be is just that, Stupid. Surely there is someone out there that has been some branch of the Military that knows how to say, This is what I stand for, “Follow Me” and count cadence when they get out of step.



  1. Here's some insult to injury on the Chrysler thing, the seven BILLION dollar bridge loan is part of their bankruptcy filing. SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS thrown down the toilet.

    WE are so screwed.

  2. Jeez, and I thought 200 million was a lot of money. We are double screwed. MUD

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  4. Leadership by example has always worked on me and for me... Good post MUD.