So, you became an entrepreneur to do you own thing. You are your own boss and ditched those rules and instructions your managers used to give you. As founder, you want to be creative and take your ideas to market.
But as your team is growing you realize that it’s very tough to keep your fingers on the pulse or predict a month end result when everyone is flying by the seats of their pants.
You are not involved in every step anymore and you suddenly see that people have created their own way of doing things.
That might be okay here and there but it quickly becomes a problem when there no clear view anymore on how products or services are created and delivered to the customer.
Processes are often associated with cumbersome mapping exercises and detailed work instructions that might get ignored before the ink is dry.
But without processes, you are wondering how things are going and what it is that people are actually working on. You are waiting and hoping that stuff will get done correctly and on time. By now, there are too many people around to follow-up with directly.
It’s so unsettling when you don’t have visibility into anything until it’s done.
You are constantly looking in the rear view mirror!
Now the team needs to step up and implement processes that align everyone around how work gets done.
And how do you show up as a leader to signal that processes are important?
I think you do that by asking questions that can only be answered if the team follows consistent processes. And, of course, you have to be a role model and follow the processes yourself.
Three types of questions:
Questions pertaining to roles and responsibilities:
Clear roles and responsibilities are important to get stuff done. So ask questions that start with “Who’s in charge”. For example:
- Who’s in charge of final review of proposal? Who’s doing the final quality check before product is shipped?
Handoffs between teams are a place where things fall frequently through the cracks. So ask about them. Example:
- Where is the hand-off between business development and account management?
Questions pertaining to processes.
- Have we improved the process for checking that payment has been received before we release the final product version to our customers?
- How much time are we spending on the annual review with customers? How far are we scheduled out?
- How often an when do we check in with the client after we completed the project? Who is doing that?
Question pertaining to measurements:
Only what gets measured gets done. And those measurement give you the transparency you need to manage your business without being involved in every detail. Examples:
- Do we measure the typical conversion rate from lead to customer? How many leads do we need on a monthly basis to make sure we get to our annual revenue goal?
And here’s my favorite one:
- How do you know you have done a good job?
This is very basic but the ability for people to assess the quality of their work is the foundation for making improvements and, believe it or not, a source of pride. People are more motivated when they know that their work hits the mark and makes a difference.
How would it feel to know what’s going on in your shop?
Here the truth:
If you want a team that creates and follows processes you have to lead with an unshakeable process mindset.
That’s required to create an environment where processes drive consistency, transparency, and collaboration so you can keep your fingers on the pulse without being directly involved in every detail.
If this is an issue that is holding you back from the success you want, book a strategy session. We can brainstorm ideas for how you can show up with an unshakeable a process mindset and navigate your company to the next level of success.