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Passion, People and Principles

Wise words

post # 241 — November 16, 2006 — a Managing post

After a speech I gave, Francis Sheridan, whose title is Resource Efficiency Manager at 3 CES/CEOEE, sent in this comment:

“About ten years ago, while still a manager for Washington State, I took a week’s class from a person considered, at the time, maybe the most talented and accomplished person in Washington State governement, Dick Thomas. He’d been Chief of Staff for the Governor, house majority leader, president of Evergreen State College, etc., and a very cool guy to boot. When I took that class, he said two things over and over until I, for one, wanted to kill him—-figuratively, of course. Long after the class ended I finally began to understand the wisdom of these two simple thoughts:

  1. Policy is what happens.
  2. Peoples’ feelings about the process largely determine their feelings about the outcome of the process.”

If only more managers understood those two lessons!

Policy isn’t goals, visions, missions, values, principles, etc. It’s what happens around here. Manage that!

Don’t just manage the goals, mange the process. Simple!


Erek Ostrowski said:


This is a great point! I’ve always advocated managing the process in the trainings I’ve designed. If people feel invested in the process, they’re more likely to own the results. If people experience theselves as contributors to the process, they tend to be more expressive and proactive about their point of view. Conversely, when people feel alienated from the process, or resigned about their ability to contribute, they are rarely happy with the results.

Thanks, Erek Ostrowski

posted on November 17, 2006

Jennifer Davis said:

Fantastic advice! Sometimes we can fool ourselves into thinking that great policy is synonymous with a deliberate culture or that documented processes lead to good results. My experience echoes that above: good people doing good things leads to good results. If the results are measured and celebrated, the culture adjusts to reinforce the behaviors that lead to the good results. Sometimes by the time you have processes and policies documented, the business environment has changed and the good people on your staff have made the necessary adjustments. Then, the documentation, coordination, and training begins again. The official action of policies and processes follows the intention and the engagement. Not the other way around.

posted on November 20, 2006

Max said:

Yes, very simple and wise…

posted on April 23, 2007