When Process is More Important Than Outcome

Saturday, January 3, 2009

I have been in the corporate world for more than a decade now. As someone who appraises performance and whose own performance is also appraised, I now fully well the importance of outcomes. Companies ultimately live (or die) based on how well they live up to their mission of providing goods or services. The importance of outcomes is ingrained in managerial concepts of Management By Objectives (MBO) and Key Result Areas (KRAs). As an appraiser of myself and others, I generally go by outcomes. Bulk of the grade is based on results. One only gets plus points for ingenuity or creativity employed in the process, or gets deducted for inefficiency or unacceptability of methods followed to achieve results.

As I made my goals for 2009 I questioned myself: What exactly do I get or intend to get from all these physical pursuits? Am I here to test my capability to finish all these types of races (marathon, duathlon, aquathlon, triathlon)? Do I want to swim, bike and run faster? Do I want to be more fit? Do I want to gain new friends? Do I want to influence others? Do I want to save the world? Is sports the answer to world peace?

As I dig deeper I realize these things I have been doing have never been really about SMART outcomes (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bounded). It is a good thing my life is not a profit-run enterprise! Yes I was elated that I finally and officially conquered the New Balance 25K Powerrace, but what I remember fondly from that race is not my finish time or line, but how I ran and finished it. I would always remember how at km18 I finally realized I truly love running - loving her for what she is and not what she can offer. As I reviewed my 10K times, I realize it was not really about the actual minutes, but more about the effort and meaning I attached to the pursuit of those times. An inner voice is claiming I only say these things because I have yet to break my 10K goal of sub-60minutes.

The truth is in my grander scheme of things the finishes and times are only milestones in the journey of a lifetime.
When I enjoy and have faith in the process, the outcomes will manifest themselves along the way as rewards and affirmation of the greatness of my journey. If there is one outcome I intend to achieve, it is to embark on as many trips as I can, enjoy the scenery and the exchanges, and be able to write stories about these experiences. I hope in the process my life and those of others are enriched. Enjoy the ride!


Anonymous January 13, 2009 at 5:56 PM  

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. —Hebrews 12:1

---i agree with your blog Rics...It is such a blessing reading these insights from you. Truly, we should not just run the race but be concerned how we run it...in life's journey, what will matter are the lives we touch, the fruits we bear and the blessings we poured to people we get to meet while running our race.


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