One of my favorite Gino Wickman quotations describes the goal of strengthening the Process Component™ in an entrepreneurial company. According to Gino, you must “systemize the predictable so you can humanize the exceptional.”
Breaking that quotation down gets right to the heart of why strengthening the Process Component is so important, and why it’s different in an entrepreneurial company than it might be in a big corporation. If you’re implementing EOS® right now and you’ve been less than enthusiastic about strengthening the Process Component, I think it might also re-energize you.
“Systemize the Predictable”
When most entrepreneurs think of “documenting processes,” the reaction ranges from yawning, to eye-rolling, to nausea. Most imagine a 500 page SOP Manual, documenting 100% of the steps in 100% of a company’s processes in order to ensure employees are 100% compliant. That’s a bureaucracy – full of red tape, inflexibility, and people who just follow the rules. Yuck.
But the phrase “systemize the predictable” describes the “20/80 approach” we help our clients take when strengthening their Process Component. Let’s unpack that:
- Most entrepreneurial companies have just a handful of Core Processes worth documenting and simplifying. Step 1 in the 3-Step Process Documenter™ requires your team to Identify them. I’ve seen clients with as few as 6 and as many as 15.
- Those Core Processes are the important things you do that make your company who and what it is – for your customers, employees, and owners. These are things worth doing in a predictable, consistently exceptional way.
- Step 2 in the 3-Step Process Documenter requires you to Document and Simplify each Core Process. This means recording only the major steps in each process that must happen every time to get the desired results. Most of our clients can do that in 1-3 pages per Core Process, making the finished product simpler, clearer, and easier to follow.
- This high-level approach takes less time and energy to complete, approve, and use in training. The sad fact in most organizations is that if detailed process or policy manuals ever get done – they rarely get thoroughly reviewed and approved by the leadership team. In the rare case they DO get done and approved, training to them and using them in day-to-day operations is very difficult. Lots of work, little value = bureaucracy, pure and simple.
“Humanize the Exceptional“
Perhaps more importantly, this 20/80 approach also leaves room for leaders, managers and team members to “humanize the exceptional.” A simple, clear Core Process document helps managers train more efficiently, and helps team members master the basics more quickly. Owners, leaders and managers can spend far less time making sure the basic blocking and tackling is being done well (or cleaning up messes when it isn’t).
That means you can spend more time with your best customers, creating creative, unusual, memorable experiences. You can spend more time connecting with your best employees, making sure they feel valued and appreciated. You can spend more time anticipating the future, creating a compelling Vision and Plan to capitalize on opportunities your competitors can’t even see. Those are the kind of things that made you and your business special in its earliest days – but if you’re stuck in the weeds, you’ll never find the time to keep doing them as your business grows.
So please, do yourself and your business a favor. Refocus your energy on strengthening your Process Component. You may find that a few hours invested in doing so this year creates hundreds of hours of exceptional experiences next year (and every year thereafter) – for your customers, team members – and yourself.