Trust The Process

I keep saying this these days. Trust the process.

The saying might have a special connotation for Basketball fans. There's a story about how a crazy manager turned the Philadelphia 76ers into a winning team after three years of losing on purpose. The coach had asked the investors, fans and players to trust the process. And it worked.

I mostly use it when talking about strategy or creative. There's a painful process in both disciplines. It feels a bit like a hype cycle, to be honest. There's a trigger (a brief), a peak of inflated expectations (the first meeting), a trough of disillusionment (the first 5-10 hours working on the brief), a slop of enlightenment (usually after a fruitful group effort) and a plateau of productivity (producing the material required).


In the past years, I met a lot of young analysts, strategists or creatives that have a hard time going through the trough of disillusionment. You have to keep on writing, keep on reading, keep on drawing, keep up bouncing ideas with colleagues, keep on sketching, even if nothing good comes out of it.

You have to embrace that uncertainty, that feeling that you'll never land on something interesting. Trust the process. Remember what Picasso said:

Inspiration Is for Amateurs—The Rest of Us Just Show Up and Get to Work
— Pablo Picasso

I'm fond of creating bridges between marketing and investing. And I've seen the investment space, venture capital to be precise, described as a process too. A process you needed to trust. This is Andy Weissman describing his job:

What if the role of the venture investor is not to predict the future. What if the job is to develop a process to evaluate enormous amounts of data and ideas(quantitative and qualitative), collaborate on making decisions with that data, and then choose a set of investments which represent different possibilities for the future.

I love the closing remark:

Human nature and ego ask us to change course when things don’t appear to be working. The process, however, requires us to keep going.

When things don't appear to be working, the process keeps us going.