Two words; Deliberate and Variance. If your business systems and processes have NOT been carefully designed, tested, documented and measured then they are not deliberate and I guarantee you that they have variance. If your processes use words like usually, typically and sometimes – we’ve got red flags.
Why do I care?
Without intention behind the design of operations and when each process varies from instance to instance you end up with massive inefficiency. Employees buried in excel and email, with desks covered in paper and post-it notes are all the rage in these companies. The fun really gets going with manual double data entry, having to correct errors constantly, and slow, inconsistent service. Forget real-time data and reports – that’s science fiction.
What’s the alternative?
A utopia of efficiency of course. Automation, organization and metrics. A business where computers do the routine work, where repetitive tasks are automated, where information flows like wine, and service is consistent. In this place, communication is quick and organized and technology is fully utilized. It’s a real place – I’ve been there. Getting there is simple. Its not easy, but it is simple.
So, how do I get there?
Here’s a few things you can do today.
- Simplify Communication
Business is people and people work by communicating. Does your company communicate effectively or accidentally. Are you underwater in email and revisions to Excel files? Consider replacing email with Slack or a dedicated project management system (Asana, Basecamp, SalesForce, etc) to take conversations out of email and put them in an organized, task-focused structure.
- Become a Systems Thinker
Effective systems and processes are the essential building blocks of a successful and profitable business. Try viewing your company as a collection of systems and work to refine and improve them every day. Check out the Checklist Manifesto and thank me later.
Businesses are too complex to navigate by trial and error. It’s estimated that the average employee has to make more than 10,000 separate decisions every single day. Standardizing procedures will allow your company to achieve better control over outcomes, period. You really don’t want your team winging it every day. Check out Work the System for more reading.
My next few posts will dive into some of the specific tools and frameworks we use to streamline, optimize and automate. Hang tight or get in touch for more info sooner!