Monday, July 11, 2011

Won't Miss #340 - process over outcome

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One of my students was corresponding with her company's head office in Italy and she wanted to tell them that an error had been made in the paperwork. The ultimate outcome would not be altered by this mistake, but she simply wanted to let them know someone had carelessly entered the wrong data at an initial stage of the process. The response from Italy was essentially to say that it was all going to work out in the end so 'what the hell is your problem?' In Japan, the people are meticulous about making sure they dot every "i" and cross every "t". In fact, they are often more concerned with this than they are with the results of the work and you can sometimes get yelled at not for the results of your work, but for some tiny insignificant error or lack of adherence to policy along the way.

I'm a pretty careful person who pays attention to detail (when I'm being paid to do a job, not so when I'm blogging, I'm sorry to say), but the frequent emphasis on process as much or more than outcome can be tedious and irritating even for a careful person who rarely makes mistakes and I won't miss it.