Open-Minded Process..

We are often very closed-minded when it comes to process. What I mean by process is the rules for getting things done, the procedure, the flow. In terms of business – it’s how the organization works.

Sometimes we don’t even realize that we’re being closed-minded. Logically it makes sense to think “well it worked before, so it should work now” – or – “it’s not working because you’re not doing it right”. But just as everything around us is constantly changing or evolving, our processes need to change and evolve too and it’s a mistake to not be open-minded to that fact.

I came across a recent interview with Dennis Crowley the other day, where he talked a bit about this topic and how he manages it at foursquare. He explained that sometimes things at foursquare “break” and that many times this is a function of the company’s growth rate – i.e. – growing from a 25 to 50 to now 130 person company in a short period of time. I thought it was very insightful and interesting to here Crowley say honestly (watch the video for his direct quote) – sometimes things just stop working and we have to realize that, figure out why, and change things so that they work again.

Thinking through this has been a reminder to myself that it’s important to stay open-minded to process changes and that just because something worked before or it’s been written down in a book – doesn’t mean it’s always going to work or be the right solution. The goal shouldn’t always be find something that works sufficiently and repeat indefinitely.  It should be find something that works and improve on it as many times as possible.



  • Angela

    I think you have two interesting points in here: 1) how important it is to be willing to change, flex, fail, try again and do so over and over again 2) growth is not easy: it requires an incredibly challenging balance.

    I think this is particularly interesting in the start-up world where everyone is focused on growing quickly. Knowing how to scale in a way that takes into consideration your two observations seems to be one of the greatest challenges to success.

    • Trevor McLeod

      Totally agree. I guess the most important thing is to have our own opinion and have it based on thinking deeply about how we believe things will work.

      We take all the information at our disposal and form our own opinion and then go do it. If something still breaks, than try again.

      But the mistake would be to force a solution that someone else says works or that worked before and assume it’s always going to work.