The Dropped Ball Series: Skills to See Process

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us one in five American business ventures fail in the first year, 50% fail by year five, and 67% by year ten. The top causes of failure are overestimating revenue, lack of leadership capacity, ineffective business planning, and underestimating initial marketing needs: the four top reasons for failure are all Process Failure subcategories.


The data suggests a general deficiency in planning, seeing, and analyzing Process. These skill gaps exist, in large part, because traditional training methods tend not to be good at developing these skills.


Most leaders developed their professional skills through presentation-based workplace or classroom training, independent reading, and rote memorization. All rely on a presenter or writer to manufacture contrived scenarios for analysis. Every step of analyzing the scenario is preplanned and static.



Upon meeting Dr. Watson, Holmes remarks, “You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.” How did Holmes know that? Is he a master of observation and deduction?

No! Holmes is neither real nor conscious. His knowledge is granted by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Doyle decided Watson served in Afghanistan; deliberately creating Watson’s appearance and character to be suggestive of that fact.

Holmes perceives Watson has “been in Afghanistan” because Doyle chose to grant him that knowledge.


Traditional training methods are similarly scripted; treating participants as unconscious characters in a meticulously planned narrative. As a result, they become very good at seeing Process in a very specific set of circumstances.


Skills for ProcessBut Process is fluid and dynamic. It is infinitely unlikely that real world Process will paint the exact same picture as the static training environment. This creates major blind spots.


The solution is to develop Process analysis skills in a fluid and dynamic environment. Game-Based Learning is a leading method to accomplish this learning objective.


Developing Process Analysis Skillset


Game-Based Learning creates freedom of decision-making under pressure; manufacturing unpredictable Process and Outcomes. Under this model, the onus to review and problem solve is placed on participants rather than a presenter. Thus, an inherent learning outcome is the ability to review and adapt process in a dynamic environment.


Dynamic training environments develop the skills to review and adapt Process in the real world. The ability to see and review Process in the real world is a prerequisite for establishing a Process-Driven Organization.


Process analysis is a critical skill gap for many business leaders due to the shortcomings of common training models. L M Thomas Group helps leaders fill in those gaps on two levels.


On the individual level, we offer leadership small groups for leaders to develop and maintain professional skills; making them more adaptable, effective under pressure, and able to see Process.


We also help businesses implement Game-Based Learning within their organization. This boosts productivity at all levels of the organization in the short-run. Long-term, it maximizes the capability of the next generation of leaders for that organization.


To learn more about either solution, book a Free, Thirty-Minute Consultation with Joey!


This essay proposes solutions to issues raised in a previous post on the relative visibility of Process and Outcomes. It also references The Dropped Ball Thought Experiment.

Joseph Rasmus

Joseph Rasmus is a Project Consultant with the L M Thomas Group.

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[email protected]

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[email protected]