I’ve thought about the tension between processes and outcomes a lot over the years. On the one hand, outcomes are lagging indicators while processes are leading indicators. That naturally lends itself to advice along the lines of “focus on the process.”
But while the process is a leading indicator, a focus on the process alone doesn’t guarantee we’re headed in the right direction.
That leaves us with a conclusion that holds for most good things in life – when in doubt, replace the “or” with an “and.”
Combine a focus on process by keeping our eye on an outcome that helps us understand if the process is working.
Combine a focus on creating a good system with a goal that help us understand if we’re making progress.
We dissolve the tension by embracing it.
H/T Melodie for the illustration