The Important Thing is the Process
#HigherEd Needs to Get Out of Its Own Way
My very first supervisor when I was a Resident Assistant in 1987 had a framed picture on her office wall. It was a line of ducks walking down a path with the caption “The Important Thing is the Process.” At 20 years old I really didn’t understand why this warranted a frame on her office wall which was otherwise adorned with personal photos and her diploma. She explained that it had something to do with the attainment of perfection. Nowadays we speak about ‘the journey’ and I consider that our journey to self discovery is a process and it will be messy and not entirely straightforward. As I often say, life isn’t a roadmap, it’s a Waze. We know where we want to get, the exact route may require some rerouting, slow downs and detours.
I am extraordinarily process oriented, and the mantra “The Important Thing is the Process” has come to mean something else to me in my professional life. Specifically, we need workflows, consistencies and standard processes that are shared among colleagues in order to make the most of our work. When I was a new professional at Boston University one of the first items handed to me was a “Standard Operating Procedure” manual. It was hefty. My more seasoned colleagues recommended I make a photocopy and put one in my apartment for on-call purposes. One of them even offered to put it in a ‘handy’ mini-binder for me. She took great care in reducing the text from 8.5 x 11” to 5.5 x 8.5” and then took to the guillotine-inspired cutting board to make sure the pages fit properly. It weighed as much as a cinderblock.
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