Episode #87 Processes Create Confidence

October 22, 2011

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You are listening to My Freedom Grove podcast with Gretchen Hernandez, episode 87.

Welcome to My Freedom Grove podcast. The all inclusive podcast that teaches mindset and business tools. We'll help you rise as your authentic self. Be unshakable with your emotional freedom and unstoppable in achieving any goal and living your purpose. I'm your host, Gretchen Hernandez. If you want to put your mental health first in life, relationships and business, you've come to the right place.



Hi, my strong friends. Hey, I'm going to talk about one of my favorite topics today, processes. Okay. Not everybody loves processes as much as I do. I kind of geek out on it. But the reason why is because it creates so much confidence in people.


There's so much clarity when people know exactly what they're supposed to do, they have all of the resources that they need, they know how long it's going to take, and then they can plan accordingly.


When I was in biotech, we did a lot of this. That was a big part of the job for the longest time. Just helping to flush out all of the details. If you can imagine a large manufacturing facility, they start off with raw materials and they have to get a medicine created by the very end. And they have to do it as fast as possible. They have to try to do it in an affordable manner, and they have to know how many people to actually hire and who does what. Like there's a lot of people to coordinate.


Where I used to work, there were a thousand people at our one site, but we were part of a network of 17 different sites. Knowing who's doing what and when and how, and all of the details is the only way to make that business successful.


Tame Overwhelm & Stress


Now that I work primarily with solopreneurs, small business owners or individuals that are working within companies. This is one of the things that I love to bring to them. Especially if they're starting something brand new. They usually haven't flushed out any of their processes. They start off with a blank slate and they don't know what to do. And they start to feel really overwhelmed, very confused.


There's a lot of hits to the confidence because yeah if nothing's written down if you don't know what you're supposed to do, of course, you're not going to feel confident.


For a lot of these small businesses that I work with, or employees that are working at other companies, they don't have an in-house person that can help them flush out all of their process details. Having someone that has this background to help them, empowers them to get very confident in their own job. They can then bring a lot of value back to their own company. So yeah, I've actually had people hire me and pay me out of their own pocket because there was so much discomfort in their job with not having enough clarity on who's doing what part or that there were like little conflicts here or there.


Because if you don't know who's responsible for what part or you're overworked, you have way too many tasks because you haven't figured out all of the processes, you haven't done the right resource allocation and prioritization then. Yeah. It makes for a very stressful work environment. And I love to try to help people reduce their stress, especially when it comes to work in entrepreneurship, get them up and running while managing their mental health so that they're not having stress or not having anxiety.


So processes is one of the biggest tools that we use.


Get Visual With The Big Picture


So we always start off with a large vision, like where do they actually want their life to end up? Right? So when we say life, that's usually their business and how their life is affected by their business. So we're looking at work-life balance the effect on their own health. And then we start getting very visual.


Whenever you start doing process work, it's always helpful to know your highest level process to start with. Knowing your end to end, even if you don't have all of the details, because knowing all of the minutiae, it can take forever to map out a process.


I always start my clients with what is their highest level end-to-end in the most simplest form. Doing this visually is imperative because we keep a lot of our processes up in our brain where nobody else can see it, including us. It's in this dark abyss, so when we can bring it out and make it visual, then all of a sudden it's like, okay, here's something tangible that we can work with. We can all look at the same pieces and agree, is this really what it is or not?


I work with people virtually now most of the time, and we use the Google jam board, Google jam board is like a virtual whiteboard. It allows us to save our individual sticky notes. When I do this with people in person, I would have a whole bunch of post-it notes, lots of different colors, and Sharpies. And we'd usually have some butcher paper up on the wall so that we could take our processes away and back to our working space so that we could look at it.


In the virtual environment, we create something different. We have the Google jam board, this is our messy design space. It's just like, you're in a conference room with sticky notes, just putting stuff up and you can move them all around. So it's a really basic program. You have to have Google workspace in order to have access to the jam board.


If we're working together, I have access to it and I can always download a PDF for you for later on when you want to look at it. But we start with the highest level end-to-end process for your business. And if you have a business unit instead of the whole business, then we're looking at the end-to-end process for your business unit.


If you're a solopreneur we're usually looking at how do people find you? How do they connect with you? What is your product and service? How do you market that? How do you sell it to them? How do you deliver it to them? So we're looking at total high end-to-end.


Divide & Conquer - Subprocesses


If we're designing from the ground up. Brand new. We're going to end up going deeper into each one of those steps. Each step is supported by multiple subprocesses.


When you work for a business and especially like if you have a subunit, you have a certain number of processes that are unique for your business unit. When we're looking at a whole business, we're looking at all of the processes. Solopreneurs is probably the simplest place to start because it's a smaller-sized business. So we're looking at how they manage building their processes. How they manage branding themselves. How they manage interacting with people.


If they're doing any kind of a consultation that in itself has its own process. There's also the bookkeeping process or their daily routines, or planning out all of the tech stuff. What are all of those processes that you have to do. Even acquiring the tech that has its own process.


We start off at end-to-end. Then we start listing out what are all of the individual processes that support that each of those individual processes will have their own process map. A process map, again, it's just a collection of sticky notes.


Put step one, step two, step three, sometimes there's decision points. So those ones, we usually change to a diamond shape. And it has like a "if option A go this way, if option B go the other way." And so it can start to have a couple of different tracks for this process, depending on what it is.


This part can take a little bit of time. It depends on how complex that process is. Sometimes we have to break it up into smaller chunks of the process and document those ones separately. Sometimes that's enough. Sometimes that's all that needs to happen. And then someone's able to do their business pretty smoothly because they can see it. Again, it's visual. It's out of somebody's brain and onto sticky notes at that point.


Sometimes that gets made into a permanent document. So they always have their process flows ready to go. They can look at it themselves. If they have other employees, they can show the other employees what that looks like. Sometimes standard operating procedures are created from that that has a little bit more detail for each of those steps.


The Nitty Gritty - Standard Work Cards


And then for the businesses that really need to pay attention to their resource allocation. They're trying to make sure that they don't have much waste in their processes we go a step further.


And this is with standard work cards. So for a standard work card, it takes each of those sticky notes within a process and creates detailed instructions for it. This is going to have step-by-step instructions for each of those steps.


For each standard work card, we're going to talk about what's the intent of that step? Because remember, we're trying to make businesses run with the least amount of waste possible. So oftentimes if we know the intent, it might get our brain churning on what is an easier, faster way of doing this.


We always want to document the intent. Then we do step-by-step instructions for each of those steps. There's an additional column that has five of your 'W' and 'H' type questions. Now, each step doesn't necessarily need all of these answered, but it's good to evaluate each of those steps for these questions.


  • Who does that step?
  • What exactly do they do?
  • Where do they do it?
  • When do they do it? Do they do it now? Do they do this two days from now? Do they do this a month from now?
  • How do they do it?
  • There's additional columns in these standard work cards for links. So if there's a template that can help make something go a lot faster, there's a link to that template.
  • If there's a video, like a really quick video that shows exactly how to do this step, there's a link to that video.
  • There's additional columns to say, what is the deliverable of that step? How will you know that you're actually done? Now, this is getting incredibly clear and concise.
  • The final part on this is the time component for each of those steps. How long does it take? How many minutes does it take or does it take a couple of hours?
  • At the bottom of the card we sum up overall how much time does it take for that one person to do each of those? If there's multiple people that show up on one standard work card, we have it broken out person A, person B, person C, this is how much time it takes them to do each of these things.
  • And then overall, what is the calendar duration for doing this whole one step? Going back to when I asked, when do people do it? Like, do they do this right now? Like all of these steps is it just do step one. As soon as you're done, you go onto step two? And then as soon as that's done, you go to step three? Or is there a delay in the process? So if you have to submit something to somebody else and then you have to wait on them to reply back, there might be a two-day delay. When do people do things like there's handoff times.
  • At the bottom of the standard work card where it says number of calendar days, it could be for that one step that it can take you three calendar days, or maybe it's a six month thing. Maybe it's just one day. And it's just, you know, like an hour total for the whole thing.
  • The bottom of the standard work card also tells the total number of participants that are involved. It also talks about the types of tools that are needed. So if there's different software that's needed, or if there's widgets that are needed, all of those are listed so that you can get yourself ready and prepared to be able to execute this one standard work card. And then there's a revision history because knowing how long it takes, it gives you that opportunity to always look for ways that you can improve it.


Get Ready To Scale


Especially if you want to scale your business. You want to take on more stuff, either more clients, or you want to take on more workload. You want to create a new product line. You still have a resource constraint. You still only have a certain number of people.


If you're a solopreneur, you just have you. If you've decided how many hours are available, how many people are available, and now you want to do more stuff, having a detailed outline knowing how long everything takes. It gives you an opportunity to go back and say, okay. Well, here's the intent of this standard work card here are all of the steps, is there any way that we can carve some time out of this so that it goes a little bit faster.


When you do that, you would update that standard work card. That's where that revision part comes in. You know, revision zero was the very first time you did it. That card's going to take the longest amount of time. Both in actually filling out the card, flushing out all the details, but also executing it. The very first time you execute it, you may not even know how much time it takes to do all of the things.


So the first time you're doing it, you might be documenting how long it took. And then the next time you do it, it might be the same steps. But now that you know what the steps are, you're a little bit faster. You can update the times over time as you're starting to eliminate some steps or change some of the steps, the timing also shrinks down. Then you can revise that whole card, update that revision number to revision 1, 2, 3, so on, so forth.


And also the date. When did this change?


So why would you want to do this level of detail? So one, it's going to give you a lot of clarity, a lot of confidence. We've also talked about the timing, your resource load, but this also helps you with scheduling.


You'll know exactly who's doing what part of it and how much time. Then as you're looking at your schedule for the week or the month as it may be, you can then have each person's schedule, who they are, which standard work cards they're doing at what day, and what time.


And since you already know how much time it's going to take for that one card, it's really easy to do time blocking on your calendar.


I had a podcast episode (episode 57) a while back about creating a vision board using Google calendar. That's where this also comes in. You can start off with just your wild guess at what your processes are and how much time it takes to do everything.


This is where it's getting very exact and dialed-in. And you can start to create those planned predictable routines for yourself. You'll know exactly who does, what, what time it takes, how many widgets are getting through because remember on those standard work cards, it's talking about what the deliverable is.


I can't tell you how many times when I was working in corporate, they never even thought about what the deliverable was. It's like, they have a vague idea, oh, I got to do this one thing, but there were so many processes that they were doing that they didn't really know why they were doing the process. It's just, that was just standard stuff. That's what they were doing.


Once we got really clear on what the deliverable was and was that deliverable even something that the business or the customer needed, then we'd have a lot more traction.


Sometimes we'd find that we were creating things that didn't need to be created. That was really easy for eliminating waste out of the business.


These standard work cards are also great training material. So when you have a new teammate that you want to bring on board. Or let's say you are a solopreneur and you decide, now you want to start outsourcing some of your stuff. Well, you already have everything so detailed. All of the links to all of your templates or videos has very specific instructions. It is going to be so easy to onboard someone and to say, okay, here are all of the tasks that you need to do. Here's your general schedule. And then here, all of the cards.


And that person can go through and read the cards and just do it. And if you wrote them up really well, that person may not even need you to be there with them. They might just have those cards and be able to follow it.


If not, then you're always there. You already have everything written down. You're not relying on your memory. You've already done all of the planning ahead of time. The time to competency for that new person is going to be very, very short.


In podcast number 85, we were talking about time to competency in your business role. Having everything flushed out like this is going to speed up that competency and get you up and running faster, get your employees up and running faster. All of that is good. Not only for your own confidence for their confidence, it's a good boost to your mental health, but it's also really good for your business.


Some of my clients like to stop at just having the standard work cards. That is plenty of detail. It's everything that they need. They can just organize their Google file system, to have all of their processes in there. It would have their high-level process map, their Google jam board, and then it would have all of their standard work cards.


We usually keep that all together in one file that we just call a process deck so it can show the whole end-to-end. And then there's multiple cards that are in this Google sheets file.


I love using Google workspace because one it's a low-cost alternative. It makes everything really accessible to you and to other people so you can share it. It also has all of the versioning in there. So if you're worried about sharing your stuff with someone and any edits that might happen, you can always go into the revision history and you can see exactly what the old version was and what changes had been made, who made the changes, what time they made the changes.


Next Level - Task Management Software


So for people that want to take this a step further, they may choose to use a software program. Sometimes they'll start off just with the software program like Trello, or Smartsheets, Asana, ClickUp, any of those. And they might just start trying to build out their processes from there. That can get really overwhelming because you're trying to learn a software. You're trying to understand their hierarchy. You're trying to figure out where you put things.


If you haven't flushed out all of your process details ahead of time, trying to go straight to a system can make it so much harder. The complexity goes up, the frustration level goes up, but if you already flushed out all of these details, you can then put them right into your software program. Some you might put in some checkboxes for some specific activities. Some you might want to put all of the details from your standard work cards.


Others, it might just be, this is how you're going to manage the task, just so that you can see who's doing what, what the workload is, when are things done. So at that point, you can just say the title of the standard work card and the number. And then whoever is doing that task, if they need more details, they can go to that standard work card; everything's there. But after a while as people get used to what their job is, they usually don't have to go back and refer to it, but they already have the timing really dialed in.


Driving Business Results


And the last thing that I wanted to touch upon when we're talking about processes, so processes is telling you all of this steps, all of the details, but then you can have metrics with them as well.


When I start people off with their highest level, we might have metrics at that highest level that's helping to drive their business decisions. To helping them to know how many widgets need to even come into the process. And how many deliverables are at the end. If they're looking at the speed of it, if they're looking at the cost of it, those kinds of details can also get flushed out.

When we get down into that second layer, we can start to look at really what is the cycle time to get this whole process done? If it doesn't support those top-level metrics, especially like if you're trying to generate more revenue, you might have to look at this to see how can you decrease the waste in your processes? How can you make things go faster? Or how can you do it with less resources? All of this can have metrics associated with it, but you have to actually have your processes flushed out first.


This process together helps to build up your confidence. It helps to build up your clarity. You'll always know exactly what you're supposed to do. Everyone will know what they're supposed to do if you have a whole team that's involved.


If this is something that you feel that you could personally benefit from, or if you work in a company where you think that having this skill-set and learning how to do this would be beneficial, reach out to me. I would love to talk with you about what the possibilities are.


If you are an employee for another company, it's possible that you can have your company reimburse you for the time that we work together. You can head on over to my website MyFreedomGrove.com. Go to the contact me page. There's a place where you can schedule some time so that we can get together and talk about what you need most.


I can give you a preview about what some of this stuff looks like, and we can go from there.


All right. My strong friends, I hope that you have confidence and you have clarity. And if not, I'll help you get there. I hope you have a great week. I'll talk with you soon. Bye-bye.


Thank you for listening to My Freedom Grove Podcast. I can't wait to work with you directly. I'll help you to be your authentic self, to have amazing relationships, and to live your purpose. I invite you to check out Unshakable Men and Unshakable Women. The unshakable programs will give you all of the tools, coaching, and the community to help you rise in life, relationships, and business. To learn more, go to my MyFreedomGrove.com/workwithme. I can't wait to see you there.


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