“Your processes are your Way of doing business. Successful organizations see their Way clearly and constantly refine it.”Gino Wickman is the author of Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business.
Processes are powerful and can result in simplifying, scaling, and productivity. Process is one of the Six Key Components of the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS®). In his book, Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, Gino Wickman details EOS® as a complete tool kit to help leadership teams improve and grow their companies. To learn more about EOS®, you can read our summary of Traction.
What is a Process?
A Process is a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.
Processes provide your people with the ability to be consistent in their actions. Everyone in your organization should understand the processes, value them, and follow them. Consistent action over time will result in the growth, durability, and scaling of the organization.
Your business is run through a handful of core processes that can be documented in company-wide materials. These processes work together to form the unique system that is your business. This understanding of your system will give you more control and freedom over your organization.
Document Your Core Processes
There are three steps to documenting your processes: Identify, Document, and Package. In EOS, there is a tool appropriately called the Three-Step Process Documenter to help you document your processes in your business.
Identify core processes within the leadership team, including HR, marketing, sales, operations, accounting, customer-retention, etc. There should be only a handful (about seven) of core processes that capture all the activities in the organization. The leadership team should agree upon a name for each process, and it should be strictly used going forward. Naming will provide clarity of the processes and reduce complexity and improve productivity.
Typical Core Processes:
- Marketing: the process for messaging your target audience and building a brand for your product or service.
- Sales: the process for selling a customer on your product or service.
- Operations: the process of delivering your product or service to your customer.
- Customer Service: the process of providing quality customer service after delivery of your product or service.
- Accounting: the process for the management of funds and cash flow.
- Human Resources (HR): the process for employee recruitment, hiring, management, promotion, and dismissal.
Document and Simply core processes using the 80/20 rule to capture the essence of the activities for each process. The 80/20 rule suggests that 20% of documentation should capture 80% of the ideas and steps for that specific process. Do not try to be super detailed, because the simplicity of the 80/20 rule will allow everyone to follow the process.
Additionally, the individual responsible for each process should be tasked with documenting it. During capturing of the steps, you are looking for areas to simplify, remove redundancy, eliminate confusion, and add checklists. Checklists are effective tools that provide consistency and are widely used in many technical professions. The resulting core process should be captured in about two to ten pages.
Package the core processes into a handbook, which can be used for reference and training. The tough part of documenting the core processes is over. The names for each process will become the table of contents. Each section will respectively be one of your core processes. This can be packaged as a physical booklet and an electronic PDF file. Then, everyone in your organization can be trained on the core processes and have access to the booklet for reference.
“Followed by All”
“When everyone follows their process, it’s much easier for managers to manage, troubleshoot, identify and solve issues, and therefore grow the business.”Gino Wickman is the author of Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business.
After your leadership team has agreed on your documented processes, they have to communicate the new policies to the rest of the organization. The approach has to flow from the top-down, which means the management has to first commit to adhering to the processes. Then, they can convince your people to comply with the new processes. It is important to note that introducing new policies will cause pushback from your people.
The leadership team can get buy-in from their employees by showing a graphic representation of how the core processes are related. The graphic can show how the business will become less complicated and more manageable to scale to handle more customers, revenue, and employees. After showing the system of processes, they can provide training and manage the employees to work within the system.
Steps for Roll-out of Your Processes:
- Create a visual flowchart showing the systematic relationships between the processes in your organization.
- Schedule a meeting specifically to communicate your organizational processes to your people.
- Train everyone in accordance with the new processes.
- Manage your people to follow your processes.
When your processes are systemized and recorded, your people will have more control and greater freedom over their work.