How excited do you get about processes?  How about routine and organization!? Hmm…two ideas that get my blood moving.

Not many of us get great fulfillment from following a process or the notion of being a being a really efficient cog.  Even those of us who claim to derive energy from process and routine are most likely referring to the enjoyment of designing, implementing, or refining these things.

Humans aren't really "process" beings, after all. We're "project" creatures. We can dedicate ourselves to a task or goal for an extended period of time – perhaps several years – but not indefinitely. At some point the learning curve flattens and the mundane nature of the work starts to drain our motivation and engagement, especially if we aren't being challenged in other spheres of life.

Where this story gets really interesting is when you start thinking about organizational missions, goals and strategies. Finding a way to align and inspire a group of people around a shared vision or BHAG is one of the primary challenges of leaders in all organizations. But any BHAG worth setting requires many years – maybe decades – to realize. And you have an organization that is constantly changing. People – "project people" – are coming and going and few have the attention span and raw dedication to your goal to stick with you to the end. 

So, how to get the greatest alignment and effort from people while they're around becomes the real challenge. 

The answer may just lie in setting concrete, meaningful, yet shorter-term organizational goals that leverage people's project-based natures. 
For example, your organization's mission may be to end death from preventable and imminently treatable diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa. Great.  Your long-term BHAG? Reduce the number of deaths from diarrhea by 90% in Angola, Zambia, and the Congo. Awesome! You've got a mission and BHAG worthy of your people's time and attention. But getting people to really focus and align requires a shorter-term strategic objective, like, "Create access to clean water in 50% of the highest-need communities in these countries by Jan 2014." 

Now you've created a project. An organization-wide project that will require good processes and certainly involve some routine, but one with a timeline and scope that really engages and motivates.
 

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