Focus on the Process Instead of the Outcome

One thing that strikes me about watching the March Madness NCAA tournament is how many of the same coaches make it deep into the tournament year after year after year. Whether it’s Coach K at Duke, Roy Williams at UNC, or Mark Few at Gonzaga (although ironically, all were knocked out recently), the same coaches seem to have continued success year in and year out.

How do these coaches frequently find a way to beat the odds? They have developed thorough processes for recruiting, teaching and motivating their players, as well as the processes for how to respond in specific game time situations. Not only have they developed these processes, but they are obsessed with them - obsessed with executing them, refining them, improving them. They are obsessed with ensuring that people follow the process, because they know that if they simply execute the process, then the odds of success are stacked in their favor.

No one is ever going to win all the time, because much of life is luck. So whether it’s in business, sports, investing, chess, poker, or even relationships, it’s important to not simply assume that a bad outcome was the result of a bad process and a good outcome was the result of a good process.

Study the process. What were the inputs to the process? What were the ways the process may have been impacted by your emotional biases? Where did the process break down? Where did you get lucky?

Professional poker players like Annie Duke tend to understand this the best because they often get direct feedback on whether their money was put into the pot when the odds were in their favor. She can still be a 98% favorite and lose, because 98% is not 100%. But just because she lost, doesn’t mean she made the wrong decision. Similarly, she can win even when she made the wrong decision. Her goal though is to constantly be making decisions that put the odds in her favor because, long-term, the odds win out.

A recent podcast guest used the example of, “just because I get drunk and randomly pick a stock that goes up 400% doesn’t mean that I should get drunk every time before I invest.”

When it comes to building a business and building your wealth, how do you - over time - stack the odds in your favor? Coaches like Bill Belichick of the Patriots or Nick Saban of Alabama or any of the aforementioned coaches of March Madness fame would tell you the same thing:

Focus on your process.

What is your process for building your wealth over coming decades? We can help you figure it out.