Process or Product

I have said many times that “the journey is as important as the destination”. To chemical engineering students, I told them that “the process is as important as the product”. Last week, as I was talking with Professor Faisal Khan, one of the world leading figures in Process Safety, we came to a conclusion that “the process is actually far more important than the product.” However, as usual, I would like to emphasise the importance of focussing on the aim of all undertakings, for “it is the essence that is more important, not the jargon”. Sometimes we say that “the spirit is more important than the letters”.

With Prof Faisal Khan during his visit to UTM

Nevertheless, when we look around, it is quite sad to find that so many people are so engrossed on procedures. They spent enormous amount of time scrutinizing every nook and cranny for imperfections in the “letter” not the “spirit”. Yes, it is true that it is the procedure that produces the product, but we shouldn’t be lost along the way by taking so much effort to improve the procedures while slowly defeating the reason why we were doing the task in the first place. Now that’s the essence or spirit that we have forgotten. This is one of the traps where managers might get caught.

Within the academia, Outcome Based Education, for example, may turn into nothing more than another ISO procedure, implemented “dryly” with little regards on the essence of the whole thing. When addressing the product, they tend to focus on numbers. The main issue is to satisfy KPI’s, using whatever strategy possible, be it noble or unscrupulous. This is definitely not the correct spirit, and I think, many have been blinded by the need to be celebrated.

Sheikh Dr. Jumaah Amin delivering his lecture at UPM

Two days ago I had a meeting in Kuala Lumpur. Coincidently, there was an interesting talk to be delivered by Dr. Jumaah Amin, one of the Vice Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt in UPM. I decided to stay and travel back to JB after the lecture. Let hear what the wise man have to say, said I. One of the thing he said in his highly spirited lecture was “Allah will not ask you on the results of your effort for He is more interested in the effort that you put in”, of course along with the quality of the effort and our sincerity.  So, again “the process is more important than the product”.

Mmm, I hope I have not confused anybody. My aim is to ask everybody to always check their intention while doing anything, especially when dealing with tasks that require lots of efforts and sacrifices. I am sure that everybody agrees with me that we don’t want to do something for the sake of doing because our life is too precious to be wasted on unnecessary things.

May God guide us all…

Amongst the few thousands who attended the talk


About Dr. AA

I am an educator, professional trainer, safety consultant, researcher, social worker, outdoor enthusiast, and a thinker.
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