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REVIEWING CORE PROCESSES

After completing the 3-Step Process Documenter™, and before the Core Process can be Followed By All (FBA), it’s a best practice to do a review of the processes as a leadership team. One of the main reasons for doing this is that many processes integrate between departments and each department head will want to ensure they are in agreement with any departmental handoff points that have been defined.

I’ve had leadership teams hit a roadblock on their process documentation because they didn’t know when the process was complete or good enough to move forward. They simply weren’t sure what the final output was supposed to look like.

Ask These 5 Questions

Having worked with multiple teams to solve the issue of “hitting the ceiling” on their process documentation, here are some things I recommend you ask to make sure each process is simple, and your way of doing them is well defined.

  1. Secret Sauce. Have you included the unique actions and steps that make you special? Are you delivering on your uniques / differentiators?
  2. Issues. Have you identified any overlaps or gaps among processes? Have you made assumptions that another process is handling specific steps and is this correct? Are there any challenges in implementing these steps?
  3. Outcomes. Does each process deliver the outcome(s) you want to see? Is this the best way to achieve the end result?
  4. Accountability. Have you identified who is accountable for the steps and actions within each process? (Do you know who has the ball when your play is in action?)
  5. Customers. Have you remembered your customer interactions and communications within each process? Sometimes processes and procedures can have too much of an inward focus and forget about the customer. While it may work for you, it may not always work for your customers.

Once you complete your review and each process is documented, you are now ready to have them FBA. This will help you get the consistency, profitability, and peace of mind that the EOS Process Component™ can bring to an effective organization that is focused on achieving the Vision.

Written by Jeanet Wade on September 27, 2018

a broken ladder on industrial equipment

ARE YOU USING A BROKEN LADDER TO RUN YOUR BUSINESS?

If you’re struggling to identify and complete the Core Processes for your business, you’re not alone. Most entrepreneurs view completing a process with the same enthusiasm they have for a trip to the dentist for a root canal. However, the benefit of a well-defined process is consistency. And, when you document each of your 6 to 10 Core Processes and get everyone in your organization to follow them to the letter, you’re able to scale your business.

Why You Need to Define Your Core Processes

At a high level, a process clarifies:

In a recent EOS® Quarterly Meeting, we worked through one of ten Core Processes together as a team. As expected, this was met with a general lack of enthusiasm. Documenting processes is often one of those tasks that get kicked down the road because leaders think it will be too time-consuming, boring, onerous and of little value. They dread getting sucked into minutiae.

We identified seven steps in one particular process and clarified each of the items listed above. The entire exercise took an hour. That’s it. One hour invested by six leaders that got them on the same page with what needed to happen in the right sequence to deliver the result that they wanted.

It also revealed a glaring weakness in the first two steps of the process. Although Steps 3 through 7 were solid, steps 1 and 2 were broken.

A Broken Process Ladder

I’m a visual thinker and couldn’t help picture a ladder with the first two steps broken. How well could you do a job around the house without the first two steps of your ladder? It makes getting the job done that much harder. And think about all the people in your organization trying to use that ladder—or trying to do a job without any ladder.

So, slow down a bit. Take the time to complete your Core Processes and ensure that they are followed by all. Doing those two things will improve consistency, reduce frustrations and lead to a more predictable result.

Written by Rene Boer on April 3, 2017

a target and arrows drawn on a blackboard

WHY EMPLOYEES RESIST PROCESS (AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT)

“It’s consistency, not smiles that keep customers coming back.”

Well-documented processes, that are followed by all, ensure consistency for your customers and scalability of your business. However, it’s one thing to document a process but another thing entirely to have it followed by all. Embracing something new, such as a process, doesn’t come easily to people. If you’ve invested time, money and resources to implement a new reporting process to manage workflow and information, you probably know what I mean. Usually, just over half of the employees are using it a year later. Why?

Fear of Loss

Employees aren’t necessarily resistant to following a process, they are more likely afraid of losing something when asked to do so. The most common fears I hear are:

  • Loss of status – their role and importance to the organization will be diminished.
  • Loss of control – their freedom to do it THEIR way will be constrained.
  • Loss of certainty – there’s risk in trying something new that might not work, and there’s uncertainty that you will stay the course and finish what you start.
  • Loss of employment – improvement in efficiency and productivity will eliminate jobs.

Overcoming Resistance

Here are 5 suggestions to help employees overcome their resistance to following your Core Processes:

Explain Why – CORE Processes tie directly to the customer experience as illustrated by your PROVEN Process (part of your marketing strategy). Providing customers with a consistent experience earns their trust and builds loyalty which creates more business and opportunities to grow.

Get Their Input – The people who are doing the work should help determine the best way to deliver the desired result. Not involving them, asking them or getting them engaged is a sure way to build resentment and resistance to following any new process.

Begin with the END in Mind – Determine the desired outcome for the process and work backwards to identify each of the high-level steps necessary to drive that outcome, especially when you have a long revenue cycle;

Keep It Simple – There are a handful of CORE Processes that drive every business. Determine who has accountability for each one. Identify the high-level steps in each process, the owner of each step and the acceptable timeframe for completion.

Establish Metrics – Identify activities, review each step so that activities can be measured and inform you that the overall process is working.

Strengthen Your Process Component™

Believe it or not, your business already has processes that are getting things done. They may not be getting done in the best way, or on time, but they are getting done. However, if you’re not achieving the results you want, it should be apparent that your processes need review. Address them now before the need becomes more urgent.

Creating the best processes for your business requires input from a number of sources, particularly staff who have worked the processes for a long time. Ask yourself how many employees are retiring within the next three years? Have their knowledge, experiences and “way of doing things” been documented? How long will it take to train their replacements and who will do that training? Capture their input today, before you lose this great source of knowledge.

Begin strengthening the Process Component of your business today.

Written by Rene Boer on August 9, 2018

 

two people discussing business at a table

FIVE HIRING MISTAKES TO AVOID

As a business owner, two of your most important assets are your employees and your leadership team. Here are five common mistakes that business owners make when building their team.

1. Not Clarifying the Role You Are Hiring For

An accountancy firm needed a marketing manager but did not clarify whether it was a strategic big picture role or a role that combined strategy and execution. They ended up hiring someone who was strong on strategy and writing the plans, but not on updating and fixing the website, gathering leads for the sales team, and producing regular newsletters and blogs.

When using EOS®, we identify what seat you need to fill on the Accountability Chart and the five main roles in that seat. From these five roles, you can create a detailed job description with the skills and experience that the ideal candidate will need.

2. Not Hiring Around Your Culture and Values

Before you consider whether a candidate has the right skills and experience, we believe it is imperative that they match the company’s core values. Without a core values match, it doesn’t matter how much expertise they have, what their accomplishments are or what brands they have worked with, they won’t fit in, and may cause problems for a healthy team who have been working together well – such as disruption and division.

By using the People Analyzerand interviewing with questions around the company’s core values, you can determine whether a person matches these and/or meets a minimum standard. The People Analyzer provides a black and white view of a somewhat subjective analysis of whether the person will match and fit.

3. Not Knowing What Level to Hire At

One of the challenges a business faces when trying to scale and grow is what level of experience to hire: junior, team lead, or a senior-level position. Are you hiring someone who is going to grow into a leadership role, or someone who needs to come in with management experience, who knows how to hire, train and lead a department?

A client I have worked with hired an operations manager who had worked in a much larger organization. He was used to working with greater resources and larger budgets and he overspent on recruitment fees. Eventually, he left the business and one of the people he hired became the head of the department. It is important to use the Accountability Chart to define the seat, the roles and the responsibilities which match the departmental budget. This will ensure that you are hiring the right person (who matches core values), at the right level, who can deliver.

4. Only Considering Internal Candidates

Some companies only consider internal candidates and forget that the best practice is to recruit the right person who matches the seat requirements, regardless of whether they are internal or external.

One of my clients had a discussion and debated whether or not to promote a lead sales manager as head of sales and marketing. The founder had previously held this position and wanted to reward the existing sales manager with the opportunity.

The sales manager was promoted, but he didn’t deliver on the marketing plan. As a result, the sales pipeline shrank and there was discontent with his leadership style. After 90 days, he resigned because he had not delivered on his Rocks and was feeling overwhelmed.

The best practice is to follow a pre-determined hiring process that allows you to accept applications from internal candidates while still looking for the best qualified external candidates. Interview and appoint the most qualified candidate, regardless of whether they are internal or external.

5. Only Considering External Candidates

Only hiring external candidates can bring a different set of challenges. It is a best practice to have a training program to develop your mid-level managers, giving them an opportunity to grow their leadership and management skills. This gives them a career path within the organization.

If you consistently hire your top-level managers and leaders externally, ambitious members of your team may feel there is no chance of promotion or advancement. The danger is that your best talent may leave.

Every company needs to have a consistent hiring, on-boarding, and off-boarding process. Using the EOS tools and systems helps take the complication and hassle out of hiring, as well as finding the right talent as the company evolves and grows.

Written by Julia Langkraehr on October 7, 2019

 

five business people having a conversation in a room

“I BOUGHT THE BUSINESS, BUT MY DAD WON’T LET ME RUN THE PLACE”

Recently, one of my clients started using EOS® after he bought a business from his dad. After the purchase was completed and the money deposited in the bank accounts, his dad left to retire in a warm climate. But it wasn’t long before he returned, figuratively flying in the window of the business, dumping on everything, then flying out again. My client called it “Seagull Management.”

Who’s In Charge? 

His dad began to come into the office every day and:

  • Approach people on the team
  • Ask them to do things
  • Tell them they were doing things wrong
  • Wonder what they were thinking
  • Get mad
  • And leave

Many of the team members had worked for the dad for generations and were accustomed to taking direction from him. Even though they knew the son now owned the business, they felt it was disrespectful to not take the father’s direction. They were confused, getting pulled in multiple directions, and their loyalty was getting questioned.

At the same time, it caused a huge strain on the father/son relationship because both the son and the father were insulted. The father felt insulted because the direction of the business was changing. He also resented the fact that his son had spoken to him about the importance of talking with him directly, instead of approaching the employees. The dad felt he was helping the son and was insulted when the son said he needed to stop what he was doing. The son was equally insulted because he felt his dad didn’t trust him to run the business. He felt second-guessed and as though his dad was trying to take over.

This is a common issue for family businesses whether the business has been sold or gifted to the next generation or is still owned by the older generation. Employees need business owners to be clear about:

  • Who is leading the business /Who to take directions from
  • Where the business is headed
  • What’s a priority/what’s not
  • What success looks like

Without these things clarified, your team will be confused.

EOS Tools Bring Clarity

When the leadership team started using EOS, they created an Accountability Chart that made it clear to all members of their team who was leading the business. They also created a Vision/Traction Organizer™️ (V/TO) that defined where the business was going. Meanwhile, their scorecard helped the team define what success looks like week to week.

While the son (as the current owner) didn’t have to share these tools with the father (the previous owner), he still chose to. As a result, their relationship changed as the father became an advisor to him at a very high level. The father was able to share ideas, strengthen relationships with vendors, and see the thinking behind the changes his son was making.

By using EOS Tools to head off “Seagull Management,” you can help minimize the confusion, chaos, and frustration that comes with it.

Written by Sara Stern on October 4, 2019

A woman talking to a business man at a table in a cafe

YOU DON’T NEED AGREEMENT, YOU NEED COMMITMENT

Many of my clients talk about the struggle they’re having with getting agreement on their team. They say things like “my team is just not on the same page” or “I need to build consensus with my staff.” When I hear this, my answer is always the same: you don’t need agreement, you need commitment. Here’s what I mean…

I’ll be having a conversation with a member of the leadership team that goes something like this:

“Jim, wouldn’t it be easier if I got them all to agree with the idea?”

“Absolutely, John,” I say.

“Then why wouldn’t I try to get agreement?” says John.

“Do you think the hard decisions that are needed will be made with this approach?” I respond.  “Do you think you will build the best plan with everyone’s two cents as a part of it? At the end of the day, do you think your team will respect you more if you are trying to get everyone to agree?”

Let me answer this last one. They won’t.

Faster horse or enduring company?

Now don’t get me wrong. I think one of the essential roles of a leader is to get buy-in, or as we say in EOS®, get the Vision shared by all (SBA). The problem lies in words like ‘consensus’ or ‘agreement’. Consensus management doesn’t work. Great leaders set a vision and then get the team to commit to the vision.

We all want leaders that are concise decision-makers. They get the information they need, make a decision, and then build commitment, not consensus.

As Henry Ford famously said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Buy-in is important, but lead your team. Have the strength to ask for their commitment and not worry about creating agreement.

At the end of the day, it’s the difference between creating an enduring company or just developing a faster horse.

Written by Jim Coyle on September 26, 2019

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HOW TO STOP BEING A PROBLEM-PLAGUED COMPANY

Two workers in the Operations Department of a company were working one Friday evening to push out a late delivery. One saw a problem about to happen and said to the other, “Look at that!  We can’t ship this out. This order is not correct.”

“You’re right,” said the other, “But neither one of us can fix it. Nobody can fix it until Monday. The boss told us to get this shipment out tonight, and we’ll get yelled at if we don’t. Remember what he did the last time something like this happened?”

So out the order went, and in came an angry customer complaint two days later when the order was delivered. And then out went a chunk of the profits from the order because it cost the company three times as much to fix the error than it would have to get it right the first time.

What a shame! The workers felt safer costing the company money than they did raising an issue with their superiors. By not creating an atmosphere in which employees felt empowered to help solve problems, the culture in the organization allowed costly and reputation-damaging errors. Sadly, this happens all too often.

The Power of Keeping an Issues List 

In EOS® companies, we teach the power of keeping an issues list. An issue may be a problem, obstacle, broken system, a missing step in a process, a customer complaint, or an employee grumbling. But not all issues are negative.

Issues can be good, too. They could create an opportunity for a new product or service, a cost-saving idea, or an error-prevention step for a process. These are all positive ideas that employees should feel free to propose.

Too many times, leaders react to a problem after it occurs by fixing a single incident and telling their employees to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Then they repeat the same process the next time the same thing happens, so the problem just keeps recurring. To truly solve issues, you must keep them on a list and set aside dedicated time in your weekly meetings to get to the root of the issues and identify the solutions.

If you don’t have weekly meetings or yours aren’t productive, that is an issue in itself.

The Power of an Open Culture

Having issues lists is useless unless the culture of your organization makes it safe for anyone and everyone to call out issues. Companies that fail to make it safe inevitably operate in a continual “fire-fighting” mode. They spend unnecessary amounts of time and energy troubleshooting problems when they could be – and should be – focusing on developing methods that prevent fires in the first place.

EOS companies with a culture of openness, honesty, and a “for-the-good-of-the-company” mindset boldly and routinely call out issues in the business. This is most often done in Level 10 Meetings at the Senior Leadership Team level, and even in Departmental Level 10’s. Companies like this do not have to operate in a perpetual state of damage control. Instead, they can redirect their energy toward developing ideas and processes that lead to growth.

By sharing the company vision, creating a safe environment to call out issues, and working weekly to solve them, a company gets better day by day. Customers are happier, and employees are engaged and feel a true sense of ownership of quality and performance. What could be wrong with that?

Written by Ken DeWitt on October 31, 2019

3

3 MUST-HAVES TO ACHIEVE THE IMPOSSIBLE

In the past several years, I have been regularly impressed by leadership teams that have achieved “big” things. 

At the front end looking forward, it was logical for each team, based upon their history, to conclude, “There’s no way we’ll do this.”

So what made the difference? How did these teams of ordinary people succeed?

What You Need to Make it Happen

Certainly, there are many contributing factors, but I think three things were necessary in all cases:

  1. Belief. A majority of the team believed they could do it. Just because they hadn’t done it in the past didn’t mean they couldn’t in the future. That core belief was essential at the start. Initial unbelievers either became believers later or exited as the rest of the team moved forward.
  2. Desire. Wanting to change and get to a better place was also essential. Leaders didn’t all share the same level of desire, but most of the initial team members wanted to advance from where they were to something better and they were willing to experience discomfort to get there.
  3. The Way. All of these teams followed a systematic process (EOS® ), taking the specified steps to progress incrementally from where they were to where they wanted to be. Having the path clearly marked made it much easier for the teams to do what initially seemed unthinkable.

Just because you haven’t, doesn’t mean you can’t. Believe it, want it, and use EOS® to get it.

Written by Don Tinney on November 7, 2019

 

pic process

GET MORE OUT OF YOUR CORE PROCESSES

When I first define The Process Component™ for entrepreneurial leadership teams, it is not uncommon to see some eyes roll at the thought of documenting the company’s Core Processes.

The word “document” is what gets people’s attention. They envision lengthy procedural manuals that, while well intended, require extensive work to develop and eventually sit on a shelf and gather dust. No one ever refers to them, and most employees don’t even know they exist.

Core Processes Make Your Business Great

In The EOS Process® we keep everything simple. You’ve heard the phrase before — less is more.

Your company has a handful of Core Processes that truly illustrates how the company provides its product or service. And when your Leadership Team agrees on what those Core Processes are, documents the 20% that yield 80% of your results, and has everyone in the company following the Core Processes — magic happens. The result looks something like this:

Make the Most of Your Core Processes

So you have a list of your Core Processes. Now what? Consider these 6 questions for each Core Process:

  1. What outcome do we want to achieve?
  2. Who can implement it?
  3. When may they implement it?
  4. How do we know we achieved the outcome?
  5. How do we know if it was effective?
  6. Are there any “next steps” when the outcome is achieved?

These questions will help clarify how your company provides its product or service and will eliminate legacy processes — those activities we do because it’s always been that way. They take up too much of our time, do not yield meaningful results, and can make us stray from our Core Focus™.

Written by Connie Chwan on April 24, 2017