I was sitting down with one of my first clients over 10 years ago and we were working through a few issues. “Jim, we are struggling as of late with our quality and shipping on time,” Tom told me. We took a walk down to the manufacturing floor to watch a few of the guys craft one of the products. We were there only a few minutes when I saw something that didn’t look right. “Tom”, I said, “they are creating the same product, correct?” Tom confirmed my suspicion. “Then, why are they doing it in two completely different ways?” Tom took me back to his quieter office to discuss. As we got back to his desk, he proudly handed me a binder. Looking through it, I see that he had spelled out the steps to the process for creating the product. “Tom, I am a bit confused”, I said, “it would appear from this that neither of them are actually doing it this way”. “Oh, well, they haven’t actually seen this”, said Tom sheepishly.
This unfortunately is not as uncommon as you would think. Many businesses have their processes (or at least some of them) down but they are not being used. Last month, we talked about the value of getting down your secret sauce or the “how” you do what you do (for details see What’s Your Secret Sauce). This is first step to making sure that you are delivering a reliable product or service and being efficient as a company. But, the second step is just as important. You have to get your core processes, your secret sauce, followed by all.
To do this, we recommend four main tasks that you should be performing. First, make sure you train your team on the processes that they will be performing. Then, you need to make sure to manage the process and help your team to do good work. We call this LMA in EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System). Next, you need to make sure you are measuring performance. What gets measured gets done. Finally, you need to make sure you are checking in every once in a while to see if the actual process is still good and if not, make the updates that are needed to make it better. We recommend looking at one every quarter. If you do these four things, you will have a team that is delivering consistent results and you will ensure that your company is getting the real benefit from your unique way of doing business.