Are You Event Driven or Process Driven?

September 15, 2015

In John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership he points out the difference between process and events.

As he points out, events are short term moments of excitement like a conference while the process is doing something over and over.

event driven

Event driven marketing isn’t sustainable. You can stop making yourself crazy and develop processes.

The latter is less sexy — that’s the work part — but builds the habits of success.

What Does It Mean to be Event Driven?

I started thinking about this idea of event driven vs. process and it’s not just the excitement around a conference.

It’s also reacting to things and letting that drive your actions.

You know, when everything is urgent. This will make you crazy if you let it.

I’m calling that another version of event driven. I’ve been guilty of this in my own business. You know, an email comes in and a client needs x and I think it’ll be quick so I switch gears and 45 min later I’m frustrated because it turned into something bigger than I anticipated.

That’s the less fun side of event driven.

A process driven mindset adheres more to Steve Covey’s idea of “schedule your priorities” and live your life from that. In other words define the important things and develop processes to manage them more effectively.

You may have seen the famous quadrant Covey developed.


If you think about it, most of the things that will make your business more profitable and easier to manage fall into the Q2 square. Developing processes is tougher than just reacting.

That’s probably why most people don’t have them.

Yet, they ultimately make your life easier.

For example, I have a process for gathering the material I need to begin a writing project.

I have another process for developing a Facebook ad campaign. Similar to the writing project it starts with defining your objective.

I’m working on developing checklists to make my life easier.

Lack of processes is a huge breakdown for many business owners.

Since you’re doing everything, you might not have thought through every detail — because what’s obvious to you, isn’t obvious to everyone else. That makes it hard to expand your team because the new person can’t “read your mind.” And you’re probably not great at explaining it.

That’s frustrating for everyone and prevents you from growing.

It boils down to — communication. Even if you’re still a team of one, if you outline your processes …and automate when possible. You’ll make your business run smoother.

For example, if you’re a web designer you’ll often need client’s passwords to their accounts in order to work your magic. Yet, you can lose hours trying passwords only to find they aren’t correct.

If you have a list of what you need when you start working with a new client — you’ll eliminate some of the back and forth emails. If you can eliminate this time wasting activity with a simple process at the beginning of an engagement then you’ll kickoff the project stronger and ready to work. Chances are, you’ll finish it faster too.

Imagine eliminating dozens of such time wasting activities. How much time could you free up for more profitable activities? Or simply relaxing?

It can be fun to be event driven, but process oriented is ultimately more profitable.

What types of processes can you implement in your business?

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