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Did you win? What grade did you get? How well did you do? How many points did you score? Did you get all your work done?
Have you ever heard or asked those questions?
Whether it is in school, sports or the workforce, these types of questions are often the ones first asked by the people you interact with. Growing up in a performance-based society so focused on results, it makes sense.
Working in the athletic department at Cornerstone University, we—as a staff—have been reading through a book by Brett Ledbetter (2015) called “What Drives Winning.” This book, as well as my experience in the Master of Business Administration program, has opened my eyes to how we as a society live a results-driven lifestyle. Yet God created us to live a process-driven lifestyle.
Here, we’ll describe the difference in a process-driven versus a results-driven lifestyle as well as three ways you can foster that process-driven mindset.
Simply put, a process-driven lifestyle is the understanding that character and relationships are what drives results; not performance alone.
In Proverbs 16:3 it reads, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” So often we struggle to be fully committed to a relationship with Christ, which oftentimes is why we struggle to be fully committed to the other relationships in our lives.
As a leader in the workforce, expectations of results are thrown at us, which we then throw at our employees. To properly lead a process-driven life, we need to set aside the expectations of results and understand the results will come if we build the relationship first.
But how does that lifestyle come about? Here are three ways you can foster that relationship-building essential to success.
Ledbetter suggests one way to enhance a process-driven life is to find ways to remind yourself, as a leader, that the person always trumps the player. This book is obviously related to sports, but while most people may not be dealing with players, the point remains the same: regardless of the position of the person(s) you’re leading, they matter more than their job.
You can grow your leadership skill in this area by creating a character checklist, measuring both performance skills and moral skills.
In measuring these skills, Ledbetter suggests when leading people, you choose five moral skills and five performance skills to focus on fostering and communicating to the team. He suggests you physically write out a checklist so you don’t find yourself selecting more performance skills than moral skills. The checklist keeps you accountable as a leader in addressing both types of skills.
The feeling of failure is a huge factor in sports. It is easy to see when failure occurs because there’s always a winner and a loser in every sporting event.
In life and business, failure can have a stronghold on us as well.
However, Ledbetter defines failure as only occurring when we give up on something; when we quit. As a leader, to encourage a process-driven life in the workplace, we need to not focus on another’s mistakes but rather on what they did well, and on what we can do to help them improve. These qualities are crucial to living a process-driven life.
The way you react In a leadership position can be the most important piece of the puzzle to driving success. Here lies a key distinction between results-based and process-driven approach to life.
A results-based leader shows frustration when success is not achieved and shows extreme excitement when it is. Their reaction is dependent on the success experienced.
To encourage a process-driven life, a leader must control their reaction both when success doesn’t occur as well as when it does. If a leader gets tied into an emotional connection based on a result, it is a visual reminder to his followers that the thing which makes him or her the happiest is positive results and vice versa.
One of the most impactful stories Ledbetter shares was the example of basketball coach Brad Stevens. Stevens currently serves as the head coach of the NBA powerhouse Boston Celtics. Before his transition to the NBA, Stevens was the head basketball coach at Butler University and was known for the way he always kept his emotions in check.
A prime example comes from a game he coached at Butler.
In a crucial game with Gonzaga, Stevens’ Butler squad was down by two points with just five seconds remaining in the game. They had the ball, and with it, an opportunity to tie or win the game.
The ball was inbounded to their best player, but he traveled, giving the ball back to Gonzaga with just four seconds remaining. Butler had all but lost the game at this point. Stevens however calmly called a timeout, and rather than talking about the mistake they just made or singling out the player in anger, he simply drew up the play he wanted to see on defense.
The two teams returned to the court for the final four seconds, and as Gonzaga went to inbound the ball, it was stolen by Butler; by the same player who had just traveled. He then went on to hit a game-winning three-pointer as time expired.
What’s even more amazing is that even as every Butler player and fan went crazy in celebration, coach Stevens maintained his calm and walked to the opposing team’s bench to shake the hands of the Gonzaga players.
Stevens is a prime example of what it’s like to be process-driven rather than results-driven. When you keep your reaction and emotions in check, your whole team can thrive.
Effective leaders stay away from solely focusing on results and instead focus on the process of building character and relationship. Regardless of what you do for a living or what activities you are a part of, live your life with an understanding that relationships last a lifetime and are the key to ultimate success.
How will you grow in your leadership potential?
Our degree programs are designed to equip leaders to thrive in whatever area they find themselves in to make a difference. Learn more about how pursuing your education can help fuel your passion for leadership.
Ledbetter, B. (2015). What drives winning. United States: Green Dot Publishing.
Nathan-Jesse Campbell (B.S. ’16, M.B.A.’19), serves in Cornerstone University’s athletic department as an athletic communications specialist.