Episode #153 Focus on the Process, Not the Person

February 25 , 2023

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 You are listening to My Freedom Grove podcast with Gretchen Hernandez, episode 153.

Welcome to My Freedom Grove Podcast, your calm space for practical help to get your dream business up and running while being authentically you and taking care of your mental health. I'm your host, Gretchen Hernandez. I'm so glad you're here!



Hi My Strong Friends.  Can you believe it was snowing on the beaches of California?  It was.  My daughter was so ecstatic!  You know how I talk about the Law of Attraction?  When you express your intent, and you sit in the belief it will happen, the Universe aligns to make it happen.

So, the funny thing is, my daughter has been asking to play in the snow for months.  I didn’t have the calendar bandwidth this year to travel to the snow.  But, she kept asking and sitting in the excited energy of playing in the snow.  And then it snowed on our house.  What????

Incidentally, when she was little she said she wanted to be 7 feet tall over and over again.  At age 13 she is almost 6 feet tall and still growing.  That girl knows how to harness the Power of the Universe!  (laughing)


OK, back to business fun now.


Today we’re going to talk about Processes.  Woohoo!  As a Business Process coach, you know I love this topic.

What I especially love is that Processes take Drama out of our lives.  Processes quiet our Inner Critic and calm down our Judge.

There’s a Mantra I want you to write down on a Sticky Note and put it on your computer monitor.

“Focus on the Process, Not the Person”

Let me clarify something first.  When we design our products/services and processes initially we are 100% focused on the person.  We are paying attention to their pain points, desires and requirements for a solution.

When we shift to How we do our operations, including building and delivering our services, we want to focus on the process.  The process needs to work.  It has to be effective.  This is not a time to blame a person’s character, including your own.

“Focus on the Process, Not the Person”

In today’s episode we’ll dive into that mantra plus learn Process AMA.



When you focus on the person and their character you lose sight of the process and how to  make it effective.  If the focus includes blaming, shaming, compare and despair, a heavy emotional burden is added to that person, and the blamer, which slows down activity overall.

With attention diverted away from the process, many red flags and opportunities are missed.  Imagine a little cartoon bunny waving a $1000 bill and pointing at a spot.  You won’t see it if you are too busy looking in the other direction.

Attention can get diverted by looking at perceived negative and positive characteristics in a person.  You may be surprised that I included positive characteristics.  But, it happens.

If the focus is just on belief in a person, or adoring their charm, nobody is looking at the process to see if it is effective.  Many of my clients want to achieve the feeling of confidence.  Afterall, potential clients are attracted to confident service providers.

So, I focus them on their process.  When you know your process, you have confidence.  When you know your process is effective, you have even more confidence.

I’ve experienced push back on process documentation throughout my career.  It takes time to document a process.  There is fear that it will slow the business down to spend time on it.  It’s true, there is a temporary slow down of production.  But that’s the thing, it’s temporary. 


If you’re not looking at the process, the slow down is already happening.  Plus, there’s no end in sight.  There’s just more drama when things are not working.



A process is just a process.  Too often we’ll judge the character of a Business, the owner or the employees.  That’s not helpful.  And we are often wrong about the character of the person.  Employees have to follow the processes given to them.  They may not like the process either.  It may go against their nature or their true desires.


That also happens as a Business owner.  We may have processes in place because they make a sustainable business.  But it might not be our true heart’s desire.  


A great example is a 10 minute time slot with a doctor.  In order to serve a whole community, a doctor’s office has to create as many appointment slots as possible.  The doctor themselves may want to spend 30 minutes with a patient to treat them in alignment with their values. 


However, 30 minute appointments would be a higher cost for the business to stay sustainable. Their clients might not be able to afford the higher cost, so they go without.  Additionally, since there are fewer appointments available, even if people could afford the higher cost, they may still go without.

Let’s use Social Media marketing as another example.  Many of us can relate.  An organic social media post is made and the response is crickets.  This can lead to a lot of internal drama.  Is it because of the person?  Do people not like them?  


No.  It’s a process issue.  Each process step has specific characteristics that include what day/time it is executed.  If the post was made at a time when their audience isn’t actively looking at social media, it’s not going to work as well.  When the focus is on the process, and the process step characteristics, you can see the rabbit that’s waving the $1000 bill.


Would you like to have a drama free business?  Would you like to see all the rabbits that are waving the $1000 bills?  Then it’s time to “Focus on the Process, Not the Person”.  Process AMA is an easy way to remember how to do it.

Process AMA

      A -  Aware

      M -  Map

      A -  Adjust


Macro Level - 50,000 ft view


Who’s Process are you in?

This may or may not be an easy question.  But, it’s important.  If you are in your own process, you have full control to adjust it.  If it’s not your process, you can provide input, but the decision maker is the official Process Owner.  You may not like their process. 

If you’re confused as to who owns the Process, you may start following the wrong steps.

What is the Process?

Sometimes it’s really obvious you are following a process.  That's usually because it’s Named, Documented and Communicated.

However, most of the world’s processes are not named, documented nor communicated.


The easiest first step is to give it a name.  It doesn’t have to be a perfect name.  Even “The computer steps we take to make the thingy work”, is helpful as long as you know what the thingy is.

Are you following the Process?

Winging it” is not following a process.  Just figuring it out as you go, is not following a process.  Both of these methods may get you the end result.  However, you might find that it takes you longer to get the result.  Or the journey to the result is harder than it needs to be.  Of course, if the process doesn’t exist yet, winging it and just figuring it out is how the process gets created.

If there is an established process why wouldn’t you follow it? What is the specific defect of the process?


Let’s say you are following the Process, but it’s not working.  Instead of blaming yourself, ask what specifically about the PROCESS didn’t work.



Micro Level - Walking on the step stones.  Having a process map of the actual steps in a process is the most valuable work you can do.  It clears up so much confusion, anxiety and resolves conflicts.

Here are the most common reasons for process confusion, anxiety and conflict:

  • Inconsistent steps (too many versions)
  • Disagreement about steps
  • Too many or missing steps
  • Steps out of sequence
  • Requirements not considered or met
  • Too much waste in process dilutes the value

When I worked at Genentech, the company knew the value of process mapping.  I lead all day and multi-day workshops with teams to document their processes.  When you take the combined salary of all the individuals in the room, times the amount of time they were there, these workshops were between $100k - $1M investment.  The return was always at least 10x the investment, over the lifespan of that process.

When your processes don’t work, it costs your business a lot of money in wasted effort and missed opportunities.


There are 3 things to consider with Process Maps

1. Where is the process documented?

2. How is it communicated?

3. Are the steps clear?

If your process is not documented – Do it now.  If you have multiple undocumented processes, prioritize them based on impact to your business.  Here are 3 options to document your Process Maps.

OPTION 1 - Write a quick numbered list of steps (use pencil or an editable computer app).  


Why pencil or editable app?  Because you’ll probably either miss some steps, bundle multiple steps on one line, or get the steps out of sequence.  Set yourself up for success by allowing edits.

OPTION 2 - Use Post It Notes (one step per post it note)

This can be easy, quick and fun.  It just requires wall space, or alternative space that can be saved.  I like to have a roll of butcher paper.  That gives me flexibility with the length of the process map.  It also gives me portability.  I can fold up the paper with the post-it notes attached.


Post It Note Process maps also provide flexibility for resequencing steps.  And individual post-it notes can be removed or replaced.

OPTION 3 - Use a spreadsheet, slide, Google Jamboard, or Process app such as Lucid Charts or Sweet Process. 

Spreadsheets, slides and Google Jamboard are great for when you are first designing or documenting your processes.  They are low cost and the learning curve is very small.

Once you have a process that is pretty well established, using an App like Lucid Charts or SweetProcess makes sense for the longevity of your business.


Having your processes documented helps you and any team members know exactly what is supposed to happen, by which role and when.  

Communicate it.  


The first person that needs to know it exists is you.  I know this sounds funny, but it requires organization.  How many times have you gone looking for something and can’t find it?  Think about a grocery list.  A grocery list is you communicating to yourself.  If you misplace your grocery list, you rely on your memory.  Sometimes that works.  Sometimes it doesn’t.  You’ll always have success when you are looking at the list.

It might be tempting to criticize your memory.  That’s not helpful.  It hurts your mental health and slows down your productivity.


How will you keep your processes organized so you can find and use them? 


As a solopreneur, my processes are kept in my Google Drive.  I have a folder for Business Processes.  I have subfolders for different groupings of processes.  During my first 6 months of establishing my business, I kept my processes on paper in a 3 ring binder, believe it or not.


Next, of course, is to consider who else needs to know the Process?

Your clients might need to know some of your processes.  Not all of your processes.  Just the ones that directly pertain to them.  How do you communicate with them?  Are you just verbally telling them your process?  Or do you have it in a visual format they can look at?  Is it on your website?  An email?  A printed list?  Or something else?

If you have co-workers or vendors, which processes are relevant to share with them?  What format will you use to communicate?  When is it important to communicate with them?  How frequently does the process need to be communicated or reviewed?

Wouldn’t it be great if people could remember your process after being told about it once?  Yeah, it rarely works.  They need something to reference.  Humans learn through repetition.

Clear Process Steps - Do you know exactly what happens in that step?  If you’re shrugging your shoulders and kinda nodding your head right now, get honest with yourself.  Just because you have the general idea of what is supposed to happen in that step doesn’t mean it’s clear.


When things are not clear, they are open to a variety of interpretations and the opportunity for error is very high.  This leads to a lot of people judgement.  I’ve heard the word “Common Sense” thrown around a lot in my Business Process career.  If someone doesn’t get the process step right, someone else will judge them as not having common sense or labeling them as an idiot or worse.  FOCUS ON THE PROCESS, NOT THE PERSON.

Make the Steps Clear.  Get feedback to ensure it is clear.  An easy test is to come back to your process instructions 2 months down the line.  Can you follow them exactly and get the same result?



Nano Level - Getting into the weeds.  As you know, there are a lot of details in the weeds.  Sometimes you can loose track of where you are when your head is down in the weeds.  I highly recommend that you keep your 50,000ft view and Process Maps handy.  When you start to feel lost, pull back and reorient yourself.

Another thing to watch out for are Rabbit Holes.  I lead a workshop once where I provided cloth flags in the middle of every table.  At anytime, if a participant recognized we were going down a rabbit hole, they could throw a flag up in air.

We did this so we could FOCUS ON THE PROCESS and get the clear documentation done.  If the full map isn’t done yet, don’t go into the weeds.  You’ll get stuck in rabbit holes.

Process Adjustments are made once you identify which exact part of the process isn’t working.


1. What is the intent of the step?


2. What are the requirements of the step (quality, cost and speed) or (time, money and effort)?


3. What is the defect? (which requirement wasn’t met)

4.  What is the new experiment to meet that requirement?

Notice, I didn’t ask what is the new solution?  You have to experiment to learn if the requirements are indeed met by the adjustment.  If it is, then you have your solution.  If it isn’t, another experiment is needed.


5. Update the Process Map with the final adjustment.


Most people, when given a process, will follow it.  Sometimes they don’t want to follow it.  If the person has had their requirements incorporated into the process design, this shouldn’t be an issue.  However, sometimes their requirements cannot be incorporated due to business needs.

For example, as a solopreneur, I may desire to only advertise on social media with 1 post per month.  Yes, marketing even has its own set of processes.  If 1 post is not effective at creating a steady flow of clients, it is not meeting business needs.

This is where mindset coaching, training and or skill development can be assessed.

If the person is willing to follow the effective process once they have the additional development, it’s just part of the process of people development. 

However, if the person is unwilling, then they can opt to replace the process with a different one that gives the same outcome.  This of course is usually reserved for the business owner or process owner.

If the person is not the business owner or process owner, they can choose to “Get off the Bus”.

It doesn’t mean anything about the person. It doesn’t mean anything about the business.  It just means it wasn’t a good fit.

There is always a good fit process out there for everyone and every business.


By focusing on the process, not the person, you leave out the drama.  You find the workability in all of it from an objective perspective.  You create harmony and results.  Life and business are good.

I offer Process Coaching to all of my clients.  During either 1:1 coaching or group coaching within the Unshakable Business Co-Lab, I help you with Process AMA.

A - Aware

M - Map

A - Adjust


How would this process work help you in your business?  How can it decrease your drama and support your Mental Health?

If you’d like to explore your options, I invite you to schedule a free consultation call.  Go to my website at www.myfreedomgrove.com.  On the contact me tab you can schedule a day/time that fits your schedule.

My friends, stay warm out there!  I’ll talk with you soon.  Bye-bye. 


Thank you for listening to My Freedom Grove Podcast. When you are ready to make your dream business a reality and take care of your mental health, I invite you to join the Unshakable Business Co-Lab. This is the mastermind membership you've been waiting for. There's no limits on your imagination, nor your timeline. We're with you every step of the way. To learn more, please visit www.myfreedomgrove.com/join. I'll see you there!


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