Is Behaviour More Important Than the End Results?

Apr 2, 2020

Elizabeth Houghton

Sutton Full Potential Founder

There is an ongoing debate on what holds greater importance: results or processes. If you think about it, the question actually looks at results and behaviour/process as two disconnected things. While it is true that end results are most important for all organisations, processes are developed for producing those results. And if the results aren’t meeting the desirable standards, then there is a need to change the process.

Importance of Decision-Making

Each individual makes several thousand decisions on a daily basis. Some are easy and others may be complicated and even stressful. The bulk of decisions that need to be made and their crucial impact on costs, results, relationships and feelings, makes the ‘how’ of decision making extremely important. In organisations, top priority is given to decision-making behaviour so that there is clarity in the processes, communication, goal development and achievement.

Research suggests that employees showcase a higher level of commitment when they are sure that decision-making is a fair, logical and informed process and represents their interests. Chaotic behaviours and procedures don’t usually offer great evidence of fairness, logic, valuable input or interest representation. If decisions are not based on sound ground, then you will be left with cynics and skeptics, not dedicated and enthusiastic employees. Managers will enjoy greater support from employees for both right and wrong decisions if there is a general consensus that processes were carefully thought of and that communication and relationship building was given due importance.

When Processes Produce Sustainable Results  

There are several managers who place high importance on results and not so much on behaviour and processes. Such managers often push their teams to complete tasks and achieve end goals at any cost. What are the possible outcomes when you’re working in such a strict result-oriented environment? Well, it’s usually safety issues, high staff turnover, constant cost overruns and quality problems.

At the other end of the spectrum is a team leader who works on the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) model and encourages and helps his/her team to work on improving processes basis the results achieved. The outcomes of such an execution or approach are quite different and include a higher chance of enduring results and consistently improving processes.

The main crux of the PDCA model is that it guarantees that processes consistently lead to desired results. And when this doesn’t happen, process improvements need to be made. Some of the useful process transformations include simplifying the process to meet the desired standards and deliver satisfying results. Complicating existing instructions in an attempt to change a process is not exactly improvement.

Clarity Leads to Focus and Better Results

When a manager or team leader fails to trust his/her team members’ decisions, there is a natural instinct to get involved and try to evade disaster or a potentially nasty outcome. It is important to understand that everyone has a lot on their plate and it is therefore necessary to create clarity of processes, purpose and roles. This will help employees to develop trust in the system and they will feel more confident to let go. When this happens, each employee will be able to redirect their focus back to the top priorities and deliver better. Hence, results are a natural outcome of the synchronisation of people, behaviours and processes in an organisation.

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