Processing new approaches

I've been thinking of late about a conversation I had many years ago with my brother Brett.

He's an engineer, so I've never really understood what he does, but at the time, he worked a company called Weyerhaeuser, which owns a bunch of timberland. But Brett's job was in a plant where they made cardboard boxes. Even I could understand that.

Brett was in Tampa for a conference or something when he was telling me about his job. He wanted a system that would reliably turn out the same quality box no matter what time of day it was, what the weather was, who was running the machine. No matter the variable, he wanted a process that would produce the same box.

At the time, I worked in the Sports department at the then St. Petersburg Times. My reply after Brett talked about seeking the same results was that my job involved covering the same sporting events over and over in different, interesting ways. I didn't want the same result.

I've been thinking about it because in my new job in the Marketing and Communication department at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital, there's a lot of talk about creating processes. I'm sure at the newspaper there were processes we followed, but it wasn't something we talked about or focused on. Everything was a push to get to a result, getting the paper out. The "Daily Miracle," some call it.

So here I am in a new world, balancing how to develop a process while still achieving the interesting and different results in timely fashion. 

I guess I need to think outside the box.