Process vs. Product

I recently realized that one of my hobbies provides a perfect example of how I approach my work.  I finished two projects in the last week, a sweater for my mom, and a sweater for myself.

Sweater for Mom

Sweater for Mom

My sweater

My sweater

How does knitting relate to consulting?  As knitters will tell you, there are two aspects of the hobby:  process and product

Now, I am one of those knitters who frequently rips out smaller or larger swaths of knitting.  People always stare and ask how I can bear to do that when I spent hours making it.  I usually respond that, “I enjoy the process of knitting, and what’s the point of spending money on quality yarn and spending hundreds of hours on something you don’t like?”

That’s how I approach about my work, too. I enjoy the process, but it’s the product matters.

I’m constantly revisiting whatever I’m working on – knitting, a white paper, or a partnership – and if it isn’t what I/the client wants, I fix it before I’m too far in.  That attention during the process gets a better product with less overall effort.  But if all I cared about was the process, I wouldn’t bother to get things right.

There’s another lesson in these sweaters.  They are unusual for me, as both were finished, worn, and then ripped out to the beginning and reknit – that’s extreme even for me.  Their imperfections were just that big.

But… I’m not a perfectionist.  Check out this detail from my sweater:

Sweater detail

See how it’s all blue in the middle, but has a little orange stripe on the sides?  That’s a mistake, and I didn’t catch it when it would have been easy to fix.  It’s a glaring mistake to me, but to the world? Having finished this sweater for the second time, is the mistake worth ripping it out to fix? (no)  Will anyone else notice? (maybe not)  Is there an alternative, more efficient way to fix it? (yes)

All right then.  And, I’ve fixed it.

Sweater detail - corrected

It may be a stretch, but I think that’s a good example of what Flisrand Consulting is about.  Careful (enjoyable) process, focused on producing a high quality end product, but not letting perfection get in the way of getting things done.