Talent Problems Cannot be Solved with Process

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Sometimes work doesn't get completed because it wasn't clear to the person who needed to do the work that they were responsible for the task at hand. Sometimes work is completed late because due dates were not communicated clearly. Other times, work isn't completed because something else suddenly took higher priority. In these instances, a new process may help prevent similar issues from occurring in the future. Keep in mind, a "process" in these examples may amount to nothing more than a simple list of priorities or it may be something more complex. None the less, they are issues that can be solved by providing greater clarity on priority, responsibility, and delivery dates.

Sometimes however, tasks aren't completed or priorities are mixed up because the person responsible for doing the work is simply not good at their job. No amount of process will turn a poor performer into a good performer. I could follow the same workout routine, eat the same food and wear the same shoes as Kobe Bryant. Guess what - I'm still going to be a crappy basketball player. I simply don't have the talent that he has.

To take the sports analogy a bit further, look at how often teams change their players. Even dynasties that keep the same core athletes still identify ways to make their teams stronger, and this often involves getting rid of athletes that aren't performing.

Now, I'm not suggesting that companies should be going around looking for people to fire. What I am saying though is that before implementing new processes and procedures, you should make sure that you're not trying to address a talent problem.

If you truly have issues with clarity, prioritization and ownership then a little more process may be exactly what you need - no matter how lightweight it may be. If however you're trying to correct someone's performance by adding more process, don't do it because it won't work.