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Developing a process worth trusting

A bad process, trusted perfectly, will lead to bad results.

  1. Respect the Results - Before you "trust the process," you must trust the results of processes that have come before you. As you are considering establishing process for your program, start by looking at what has worked. Success leaves clues. Fast track the process of creating a process by looking at coaches and leaders who have previously had success. What are the common themes of their program? What are their core values? What are their guiding principles? 

  2. Embrace Reality - Get to the ground truth. To win, you have to embrace reality. Ray Dalio calls this being a hyperrealist. We cannot embrace principles that we want to work. We have to embrace principles that actually work. Reject any thinking flaws or cognitive distortions that you have. Educate yourself on the most common cognitive distortions. Understand the most common distortions that you experience. Notice them as you experience them and use reality--the real hard truth--to establish your process. 

  3. Get Clear on the Laws that Govern Reality - True freedom does not equal freedom from all rules. A fish is only free in water. Freedom requires obedience to the laws that govern reality. Understand the rules of your game. Understand the laws of your universe. Then use them. 

  4. Establish Principles to Take Advantage of the Laws of Reality - Ask yourself, "If X is true, then what must I do to win?" A principle is an "if, then" statement that leverages what we know about the reality in front of us. To win, you have to establish principles that accurately work within the laws that govern reality. For example, in baseball the reality is that winning requires scoring runs. Runs come from getting on base. An effective principle that works within this reality would be "If we make every pitch at-risk of leaving the yard by taking a 2-0 mentality to every pitch, then we will get on base often and score a lot of runs." 

  5. Establish a Process - Contrary to what "trust the process" has come to mean, having a process means taking action. It is not waiting around and losing until you can amass enough draft picks to make yourself better. Establishing a process simply means turning your principles into action items. The above example from point #4 would be, "We will treat every pitch as if it is a 2-0 count, with the intent to do damage." Look at your principles and start with the phrase, "We will..." Your understanding of the realities of your game will take you from there. 

  6. Trust that Process - Unless you truly trust the process you put in place, then you will have no way to truly know whether or not it is an effective process. If you only trust the process when things are going well, then you, by definition, aren't trusting anything. How do you know when you've given it long enough before it is time to go back to the drawing board? How you answer this is what will determine your ability as a coach. It is all based on feel. That feel is what separates the difference between great coaches and mediocre coaches. 

  7.  Trust the Outcomes of that Process - Here, you have to go back to using the tools to honestly look at reality. Evaluate what worked and what didn't. If everything worked, then you have a sound process. You will always have to tweak your process as the times and seasons change, but if things have worked up to this point you have a pretty solid process. You have coherence. Respect and trust that process until it needs changing. If the process didn't work as well as you wanted it to, evaluate why it didn't work and which principles were not based on reality. Ask yourself if the you got all the way down to reality. Ask yourself if your principles were accurately grounded in that reality. Ask yourself if your process was inextricably attached to those principles. If you can honestly answer these questions about your process, then you will know what changes have to be made to it.

  8. Repeat - If there was space between you and reality, then get closer. If your principles did not accurately reflect the laws of reality, then adjust your principles. If your process doesn't match your principles, get coherency. 

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