I hear a lot about Content is King these days no matter what area of business you are talking about… but is that really what we need? What is Content if we don’t have control over it? Through the work I do with many companies, I see a similar patterns after patterns, teams creating content every day, albeit in the form of
– Marketing Material
– Sales Letters
– Logistics Planning
– Issue gathering
– Standard Work
– Quotations / Tenders
And while it’s great to see these activities, there is always substantial wasted time, energy and resources. Why?
As every time, these activities are started from scratch in the same manner as ‘Reinventing the Wheel’
So while content is great, and a very powerful and important aspect to business, through lack of a standard process that you can rinse and repeat, becomes a very costly exercise indeed!
- A client last year working in the food industry, one of the team members would spend half a day putting a report together once a week for a production meeting that never got reviewed in detail
- Another client in the medical device sector had their top R&D Engineer working on Quotations / Tenders for new business more than 50% of their working month at the sacrifice for paid business
- And another client in the service sector had 5 people doing the same thing 5 different ways getting 5 different results
Can you see the pattern?
While great Content is extremely important, through lack of proper systems and processes can be your enemy from within.
Therefore, Process is the real King! – Process will determine the effectiveness of your Great Content!
I don’t pretend to be an expert in Sales / Marketing / Finance and so on, however I can work with all these teams and return substantial gains by imbedding WINNING PROCESSES that can be RINSED AND REPEATED day in, day out! And when you work with the same process every day, you then have a standard you can measure ACCURATELY. And when you can do that, it implies you have a process you can trust, therefore
Repeatable INPUTS = repeatable OUTPUTS
Which in turn means Repeatable INPUTS forms the basis of continuously improving your process / system effectiveness. So in short
Repeatable INPUTS = repeatable OUTPUTS Þ STABLE PROCESS
STABLE PROCESS = FOUNDATION TO IMRPOVE SAME PROCESS
So what PROCESSES should you make KING?
While Process is the King, just like Content, you don’t want it to become the an excuse to hide behind adding value to your business and clients, so with that it’s important to consider the different type of processes / activities that are carried out in your business. There is absolutely no value in going off on a tangent and systematizing everything that is being done, so how do you choose?
Enter RUNNERS / REPEATERS & STRANGERS!
While the goal over time is to systemise as many aspects to your business as possible, it shouldn’t be something that consumes your team in the short term, business still needs to be conducted. Many industries have no choice but have highly stable and effective processes, like Medical Device, Pharma, Automotive, Aerospace, as they are highly regulated and people’s lives are at stake. However those processes are typically confined to the operational aspect of the business. They too can learn to systemise other aspects of their business, like their sales process, marketing and so forth.
The objective here is to put all the knowledge in the system and not leave it just with the people. While it’s important to have it within your team, what happens when someone leaves, will this leave a gap in your process? By not having the knowledge in the system, you are taking the risk of leaving your BUSINESS TO CHANCE!
So looking at the table, I think the starting place becomes obvious. What are the processes in your business that you do a lot of every day?
Start creating a list and each week commit to devoting a certain amount of time to develop key processes that you can rinse and repeat.
And that holds true for all departments / functions and this is important to understand. Every, and I do mean every function can benefit from creating processes that can be repeated with great consistency time and time again!
So for example, lets take a Sales Function, what are the main activities that Sales carry out day in day out? Is it
– Cold Calling
– Sales Admin
– Client Facing (lead follow up / conversion)
– Performance Reporting
– Activity Measurement
– After Sales Activity
Whatever it is, especially when it’s involving Client engagement, is it not important to not only say the RIGHT things, however also to say them the RIGHT way?
So therefore, should there not be a training module to teach your Sales Team (and especially new hires) YOUR Business’s method of engaging the client at every stage of the Sales Process?
Is it not important to ensure that Sales is performing like a highly efficient engine that can churn out performance on a continual basis? I took Sales as an example as it’s the life blood of many businesses, yet, because a Sales Team is typically remote, they are left to chance when there is so much potential to improve month on month. And when there is no formal processes in place, can you truly put all the blame with your Sales Reps for continuous below standard performance?
I use McDonalds a lot in my examples, why? Because they leave absolutely nothing to chance. When they hire a new employee, whether it’s Sales, Burger flipping, Finance, they get inducted professionally in all aspects of the role they will be carrying out. They are taught a specific method of doing each and every task that is repeatable and sustainable, that is the ‘McDonald’s Way’! Nothing is ad-hoc, everything is done a specific way to get specific results, hence they are the most successful Restaurant Chain in the world. Not once in their history has one restaurant closed! And the achieve this by having the most effective PROCESSES IN PLACE. They are perfect example of where Process is absolutely King..!!
So going back to the 3 examples above
Food Example – A process was designed to capture the data every single day so the report would take minutes
Medical Device Example – A standard quote template was designed so that 90% of the workload was removed and left only a few hours’ work for the R&D Engineer
Service Example – A standard process was developed by all 5 team members. They were also formally trained in it, and everyone that would use it, which reduced variability within the process by 80%
So in conclusion, it’s not just the what ‘CONTENT’, the how ‘PROCESS’ controls how effective that CONTENT will actually be….!
So what processes are you going to create?