If you had told me a few years ago, that I will be writing a book, I would have never believed you. But as of today, I have officially started drafting the chapters of my first book. Yes, I am writing a book in 2021.
So you might be wondering what this book is about. Before I tell you about the book, I have to tell you more about my background. Over the past 7 years, I have been developing medical devices. I worked at Baxter Healthcare, the world's largest manufacturer of dialysis equipment for 3 years before joining my current employer, Pfizer in 2016.
Today, Pfizer needs no introduction. My colleagues at Pfizer are literally saving the world from the harsh grips of the deadly coronavirus. But, there is a flip side to creating products that change lives. You make one small mistake and you are literally putting lives in danger.
For some products, we make need to meet a reliability level of 99.9999%. How in the world do you do that? The answer lies within a philosophy which I call, “The Process Mindset”.
We design products, but we engineer processes. The final product is only the outcome of the sum total of processes that we use to build them. By developing a process mindset, we are able to develop procedures and processes that will yield a reliable product.
We design products, but we engineer processes.
Over time, I realized that this is not an isolated phenomenon. When I looked beyond the medical device industry, I realized that truly great individuals and organizations have developed a process mindset. They have an obsessive focus on their processes.
After tossing around this idea in mind for a long time, I decided to turn this idea into a book. In my experience, writing is thinking on paper. So writing this book is my way of exploring this idea in a much deeper way. This book will be a collection of stories about those individuals and organizations who have embodied the process mindset.
“Writing is thinking. To write well is to think clearly. That’s why it’s so hard.” — David McCullough, Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner .
My hope is to uncover the principles, tools, and methodologies that they have used to build those great processes that delivered great results. I will be sharing inspiring stories that illustrate how people have used a process mindset to improve lives, achieve creative excellence, and win championships.
Letting curiosity take the lead.
I am entering the writing process with a sense of curiosity. I believe that the best authors write about something they are curious about rather than writing about something they already know. So, I will be doing the same.
As of today, I am still not 100% sure about how this book will turn out to be. I have a bunch of different key ideas drafted in my digital notebook. But, I am still figuring out how to structure the book. As you can imagine, there is no one way to write a book.
I could make it academic and discuss in detail the intricacies of process engineering and process improvement tools. Or, I could focus less on the technical stuff and focus more on the stories. I am leaning more towards the latter because I feel like this is where I can make a real impact.
In spite of working closely with processes and systems, when it comes to putting a book together, I have a lot of open questions. Here are a few of them:
- What prevents people from focusing on the process instead of the outcome. Are our brains wired to be outcome-oriented? If so, can we rewire the system to develop a process mindset?
- How can we develop a process mindset within a large organization? Where do we start? Do we start with changing the policies and procedures or do we start by changing the people?
- How is this related to the idea of growth mindset? In the bestselling book Mindset, Carol Dweck talks about how having a growth mindset is about shifting the focus from the individual to the process. Can we leverage ideas from growth mindset research to develop a process mindset?
The book is an opportunity for me to explore the answer to these questions and a million other ones.
So what’s the process to write a book about processes. Thanks to my Twitter friends, Jamie Russo and Rahul Rana, I found out about “The Book Professor”, Eric Koester. Eric has a coaching program where he provides coaching and processes to help first-time authors.
I am right now in the research stage of the process. I am looking for research papers, TED talks, YouTube Talks, etc. to scout interesting ideas and stories related to the concept of my book.
How can you help?
Even if you are just interested to chat with me to know more about the book, I would be happy to connect with you. I hope this will book will serve as a vehicle to meet amazing people who are living examples of the process mindset and share their stories with the world.
Follow my book journey.
I am a big believer in the philosophy of building in public. I will be sharing brief updates on the book writing process and sneak peeks as the book is taking form.
The best way to stay connected with my book journey is to subscribe to my weekly newsletter or follow me on Twitter. I hope my mistakes and lessons will serve someone else who wants to take the leap and write a book someday.
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