Processes eat tools for breakfast

by Russ on September 30, 2014

It’s often said that, “culture beats strategy, any day.” Strong values, a good work ethic and motivated employees will go the distance anyday against someone with a good strategy but without the capacity to execute and inability to stay motivated for the long-haul. I agree.

In addition, I’d like to propose a corollary, “processes eat tools for breakfast.”

If you’re around a group of people with a common mission for long enough, the need for tools to get the work done always surfaces.

“We need a project collaboration tool…”

“We need a program to manage scheduling…”

“Everybody has to get this app to log their sales appointments…”

And around and around the merry-go-round goes.

I’m all for tools. I try out many every week. However, I’ve come to realize that it’s rarely the actual tools that make the difference. What makes the difference is a commitment of a team, or an organization, of partners to use common and effective processes – and often a new way of thinking. The process is more important than the tool. Good tools often have a notion of effective processes baked right into them.

I’ve watched groups use web 0.5 tools in amazing ways. I’ve seen taskforces kick-off with the latest and greatest web platforms only to be fledgling in their use 2-weeks later. The difference was not the tools, it was the people and the processes they were employing in their use of the tools.

Good process covers a multitude of sins and, of course, a poor craftsman blames his tools.


Seeing is believing

by Russ on February 24, 2014

For many people, including myself, they need to see something with their own eyes to believe it.

Tired of meetings that waste your time? Spend one minute in preparation for each minute you expect the next meeting you’re leading to last. This could be by sending a clear agenda, having pre-meeting conversations, or writing asynchronous communication to those that need to be informed but don’t need to be present.

Sick of getting emails that aren’t important? Send only five emails today. Imagine that each one cost you 10 bucks to send.

Discouraged by colleagues that can’t seem to tell your donors the story they need to hear about the impact you’re having. Share a changed-life story today on social media from a cause that’s doing it well.

Model the change you want to see and slowly, day by day, the unbelieving will come to see there is a better way.


Time and important things

February 19, 2014

Bottom line: We make time for things that are important to us. Runners run. Writers write. Chefs cook. Leaders influence. Readers read. The old adage holds true. If you want to know what’s important to someone, look at their schedule. I’m learning to never say, “I don’t have time.” What that phrase really means is […]

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Communication Refresher

February 12, 2014

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in a half-day communication training with Michael from Mandel Communications. It was a great refresher on the basics of making sure your audience hears what you want them to hear. Here are my top 5 takeaways. 1. The importance of being listener focused In the first 2 […]

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37 Signals and Simplification

February 10, 2014

37 Signals, one of tech’s darling companies shocked the tech world last week with two big announcements. The summary? 1. They’ll only have one product, Basecamp (online project collaboration software) moving forward. 2. They are changing the company name to Basecamp. (Because that’s generally how people recognize them). As I read the announcement, I found […]

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Figuring out why people aren’t visiting

January 6, 2014

If people aren’t getting to your website is it because: a. You’re wrestling to gain critical mass for a tribe – the content is awesome but no one knows about it (yet)? or b. The content stinks and no one  in the [dwindling] tribe wants to share it? They won’t explicitly tell you but their […]

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Listening for leads

December 19, 2013

You likely hold the solution to someone else’s problem. Two recent personal examples highlight this. 1. I posted on Twitter looking for a project/task collaboration web or mobile app that my wife and I could use. The folks at Azendoo were listening and suggested I give it a try. 2. I posted on Twitter looking for […]

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What’s most important this week?

December 16, 2013

This morning our carpool asked the question of each other, “What’s the most important thing you need to do this week?” The answer to that question is telling of your priorities and mission. 1. Is your answer really what will move the ball forward in your cause? 2. Why not do that thing today, right […]

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6 Reasons I loved Indigitous Waterloo

November 18, 2013

I previously wrote encouraging my readers to consider attending the Indigitous Waterloo conference. Now that the event is finished, I thought I would write six reasons why I really enjoyed the event. 1. Meeting online friends I had never met face-to-face. Getting to connect with Matt and Eric, both people that I follow online and influence […]

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6 Reasons to Attend Indigitous Waterloo

October 21, 2013

If you are a Christian and live in North America consider these 6 reasons for joining me at Indigitous Waterloo from November 5-7. (A day pass for Nov 6 is available). 1. The Goal Indigitous is about helping Christians everywhere use and leverage digital strategies to grow in their faith and to help others discover […]

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