Would any automobile company try to build a new car without an assembly line? Just dump the parts on the factory floor and say “go to it” to the workers? Of course not. We all know that the assembly line is a necessary part of building a car that actually works.

When you think of it, the assembly line is simply a process, one that people follow to synchronize their efforts with others. Unfortunately, many organizations try to do too many things without a process.

For example, they hold meetings. Meetings are scheduled so people can use their knowledge to accomplish pretty complicated things, including:
• solve problems,
• make decisions,
• create policy,
• manage projects,
• plan strategy, and
• innovate products and procedures.

But these meetings are held without a process. Members are unable to synchronize their thinking! Such meetings end up messy and frustrating, often without results. The individual members are trying hard, but all are thinking differently at the same time, getting in each other’s way. Here are the different thoughts people might be experiencing simultaneously:

• “What a waste of time. I could fix this in a minute.”
• “I’m not sure what we are doing. My boss told me to sit in at the last minute.”
• “We need to drill down to the root cause, no matter how long it takes.”
• “I am not budging until we define what problem we are trying to solve.”
• “We need to evaluate our options and pick the best.”
• “There are a ton of problems more important than this one.”
• “Glad I went to that creativity seminar last week .The wilder my ideas, the better!”
• “I am going to play devil’s advocate on everything I hear.”
• “I wonder how we are going to pay for all of this.”
• “I know exactly what steps to take right after the meeting.”

No wonder we have a mess. Everyone is all over the map. There is no process to follow. How could we possibly expect to achieve innovative results in meetings without synchronizing our thinking?
This week’s Minsight: How might we use a consistent thinking process to synchronize everyone’s inputs and efficiently tackle a problem? The better we follow the process, the better the result.