Every role in every organization is designed and expected to produce specific outcomes. For example, a sales professional is expected to produce sales; a business executive - revenue, and profit; an R&D Executive - new products, patents, and innovations; a Graphic Artist – images and documents. We hyper-focus on outcomes because they’re easy to quantify, but role-specific performance predictors and supporting execution processes are what determine the outcomes we produce.
"Focus on the process of what it takes to be successful" - Nick Saban. Alabama’s Saban is one of the greatest college football coaches of all time, and he is legendary for his hyper-focus on the process and inputs to successful practice, player development, and game preparation. He teaches all eleven players to understand the sequence of every play and to execute their primary and secondary assignments without mistakes. Flawless execution - play after play on defense, offense and special teams produce wins. Why don’t we think about our business, sales, marketing, and operations in the same way?
I know of a business with three regional managers and each one performs the role with significantly different market approaches, leadership styles, and business processes. One consistently performs well; one often performs well, and one never performs well. This is clearly a leadership issue above the regional leaders. While there's no one more passionate about individualism than me, a lack of process and discipline will not produce optimal, predictable, or consistent results in any field or industry. We should always be looking for ways to get better, but without a standard as a starting point, continuous improvement and scale are unlikely to happen.
Every role can be broken down into a process that centers around performance predictors. We can identify the critical role-specific behaviors, and skills for every role, but until we apply those variables to role performance predictors and related execution processes, we'll produce inconsistent and unpredictable outcomes. In addition, until we’ve identified a role-specific best-practice standard, how can we measure or know specifically what works, what doesn’t, and how we get better?
Look at any individual, role, or team that consistently underperforms, and more often than not you’ll find a flawed process, lack of accountability, inadequate training, or weak leadership. There are predictors of performance in every role. Identify those performance predictors and build your execution process and performance metrics around them.