Fair Process

efficiency, improvement, learning

I am in the process of re-reading one of my favorite books of all time, “Blue Ocean Strategy.”  We have all heard that a strategy is only as good as a team’s ability to execute.  In Blue Ocean Strategy, they use the concept of Fair Process to describe the most effective way to execute on a strategy.


The underlying principle is that people care more about the strategy execution process being “fair” than they care about the strategy itself.  Here are the 3 “E’s” of fair process:


1) Engagement: this step involves asking everyone involved for their input.  No one will buy into a strategy that they had no input in creating.  This goes for a strategy shoved down from a corporate ivory tower, or one shoved down from a parent to a child. Remember “No Input, no buy in.”


2) Explanation: everyone involved must understand the “why” behind the strategy.  They must also see where their input has been applied.  If people don’t understand something, they won’t trust it.


3) Expectation: What standards will they be judged by, what are the new goals and what does this specifically mean for them.


A strategy that is introduced the wrong way will be met with resistance, distrust and will be artificially challenging to execute.  A strategy that is introduced through fair process will be met with commitment, trust and voluntary cooperation.  Next time you think about execution, think about the 3 E’s.

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