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The Telegram
Author Stephen Balzac offers ways businesses can increase revenue and attract more clients.
What are process goals?
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By Stephen Balzac
Author Stephen Balzac offers ways businesses can increase revenue and attract more clients with his 7 Steps Ahead philosophy. Whether you're trying to hire the right people or get your team on track, this is the place for accurate, useful ...
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Author Stephen Balzac offers ways businesses can increase revenue and attract more clients with his 7 Steps Ahead philosophy. Whether you're trying to hire the right people or get your team on track, this is the place for accurate, useful information. Stephen is an expert on leadership and organizational development, a consultant and professional speaker, and author of \x34The 36-Hour Course in Organizational Development,\x34 published by McGraw-Hill, and a contributing author to volume one of \x34Ethics and Game Design: Teaching Values Through Play.\x34 Contact Steve at steve@7stepsahead.com.
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By steve
Oct. 29, 2013 12:01 a.m.



This is an excerpt from my new book, Organizational Psychology for Managers.

 

If outcome goals are what we want to accomplish, then process goals are how we are going to do it. Process goals reflect those elements of the goal equation that are under our control: for example, the judo player might rehearse different throwing combinations, the fencer different combinations of blade work. A business might explore different methods for improving the quality and speed of software development: for example, they might try Extreme Programming before discovering that it really doesn’t work all that well. A writer might arrange her day to have uninterrupted chunks of time in order to be able to concentrate most effectively.

Process goals are the beginnings of strategy: while outcome goals only give us feedback at the end of an activity, process goals give us feedback during the activity. Real time feedback is what permits real time course correction. Real time course correction is what enables us to discover that we should have made a left at Albuquerque before we end up in the middle of the Sahara desert.

The intent of process goals is to focus our behaviors into directions which will give us control over those aspects of our outcome goals that we can control and improve our odds in those areas that we can’t control. For example, Jesse Livermore, the legendary stock market wizard, recognized that he could not control the direction the market was going. However, he could control whether or not he was in the market, and developed rules, or process goals, which told him when to buy or sell. Executed properly, these process goals maximized his odds of turning a profit: indeed, Livermore’s profits when he covered his short positions into the Crash on Oct 29, 1929 were reputed to be on the order of $100,000,000.

In sports, when an athlete attempts a move and it doesn’t work, the athlete can switch to a different move. A business that conducts market research is doing the moral equivalent: they are testing different approaches or different product formulations and using that feedback to guide their goal-directed behavior.

Process goals are your battle plan. While it may be true that no battle plan survives contact with the enemy, having a battle plan lets you know when you’ve made contact.

Process goals can be decomposed into outcome, process, and learning goals.



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