Navy SEALS and adaptable processes

When we talk about process for the first time to people tasked with improving marketing performance, their first thought is that this will somehow remove the “creative” part of marketing. Not true. Many Marketing processes need flexibility and adaptability and as such, fewer people can handle them well. The key is to keep process flexibility and adaptability to the minimum level required to achieve the desired outcomes. Then it is easier to staff with people who can be great.

Some processes are so variable and complex that only exceptional people can be used. A current example is the so-called Navy SEAL Team 6. (There is no Team 6 anymore these guys are part of Navy SEAL DevGru, but that’s just a nit.) Anyway, these guys work in highly unpredictable environments with limited knowledge of the situation and a need to adapt to whatever happens, including failed aircraft. As such there are VERY few people who can be successful members of Special Forces. However, most military processes don’t require that level of flexibility and adaptability so more people are capable of being great in the roles they fill in these other processes.

Great people are necessary where they are. The key to appropriate process design is to limit your need for truly exceptional skills so that most of your people can perform their roles exceptionally well.

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