Focusing on the how allows you, as the founder, as the visionary to focus on the what. Figuring out the how. Making it easier for work to get done, making it clearer for how to get work done. This is what allows you to scale. This is what allows you to move faster. This is the key to doing North Less.
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Welcome back to the show. I'm so excited about today's episode because it is literally a masterclass in how to do more with less, how to increase engagement, productivity, and profit during lean times, small business owners, founders, entrepreneurs.
This one is for you because I know you wanna keep growing. You wanna keep scaling even when times are tight, even if you can't hire, and the secret to doing that is making it easier to get things done on your team and in your.
Let's set the stage. You are ready. You are bought in. Maybe you have a small team and you're feeling like you're on fire, but as you hire a few more people, that ease and flow used to feel well, it's not quite there anymore.
Or you're still involved in all the decisions, which you kind like, let's be honest. But you also kind of thought you wouldn't have to be, as you grew your team or you're not totally sure what everyone's working on and how people are spending their time and certainly aren't sure if we're moving at the pace we could.
And maybe you've spent so much time on hiring, you have some great people. But with all the change and uncertainty going on, you're worried you might lose people and how that might slow you down. But if any of this sounds familiar, then this is the conversation for you because this is what I have been hearing from so many of the small business owners and entrepreneurs and founders that I've been working with over the past several months.
And I'll tell you, these are the kind of things that I've been thinking about as I've been growing my business and thinking about hiring up and scaling. What if this and what if that? And how do I know when you're an entrepreneur or a founder or vision? Your eye is on the what. You've got that vision, you've got that strategy, and you know what direction you're going.
But what we think about often less is the how. How are we gonna get things done? How are we gonna make sure things are clear to our teams? How do we know if we are going in the right direction? All of that is what I am here to help you with because that's my jam. And if the word process makes you wanna barf, then you don't have to worry about it because I eat process for lunch and I'm gonna help demystify it a little bit today and simplify it for you so that you can go back to your team and say, I am gonna make things easier for.
And the way I'm gonna do that is boil down the top things that you need to think about before growing your team into six core focuses. And these six focuses are what make up my ops playbook program or my billion dollar ops playbook for a million dollar businesses, which distills all of the learnings and findings that I had over a decade in the corporate world where my job was literally to build processes to make teams jobs.
Boiling all that down and sharing it back with entrepreneurs and business owners and and founders. Because I thought to myself, why should the corporate world be the only place that has clear processes around how to get things done? And what power would entrepreneurs have if they understood how to scale faster if they had this meat behind the how?
So they could focus on the what, and that is what I'm bringing to teams in my Ops Playbook program. That's what I wanna talk about today. As you're listening, take some notes, but then let's have a conversation because I will support you hands-on and mapping out your own ops playbook so that you have an operating manual for getting things done on your team.
And anytime you have a new team member, you hand them that document and they know how to get things done. And again, if you're sharing it with an existing team, then they know, Hey, this manager of this leader is out for me and my success. They wanna make it easier for me to be successful on this team. So let's dive into these core six areas you wanna focus on before scaling or that you wanna fine tune as you continue to scale your business.
The first one is onboarding. And to talk about onboarding, I wanna set the stage of one of my onboarding experiences that really showed me the importance of a successful onboarding. Years ago, I got a job where I had to move up the coast, okay? 800 miles away from my husband. He was still in school, so I had to go myself.
I rented an apartment, I moved to a new city. I didn't know. And then I started my first day on this job. I was so excited for the job. This was an opportunity of a lifetime, and I walked in the door and one of the amazing admins helped me find my desk and helped me get my computer set up. But then I waited all day.
Nobody else came to say hi. My manager wasn't there. I got there around eight o'clock and I think 4:45. I said, well, I guess I better go home. And when I drove home that night, I said, why did I move here? What is this? Is there a future for me? Like what have I. and I felt terrible. And this set the worst tone.
I mean, seriously, this set the worst tone for this job. And I'll tell you, this happens so much that we get to a job, we're excited and that our manager doesn't show up for us. Our team doesn't show up for us now. We don't need to build the best onboarding experience in the world, but we need to do better than that.
And when I talk about onboard, It's about thinking. How do you want a new team member to feel when they start working in their company, whether it's remote, whether it's in person, how do you want them to feel? Do you want them to feel excited, motivated, like they can hit the ground running like you want them to be there?
Then there's certain things you need to do to show up for them. Things like being there, you know, being, if it's remote, being there, able to answer questions. Maybe you have a coffee chat or an intro meeting or lunch. Whatever it is, setting them up with a buddy, someone to answer questions, having a document ready that has some links of things to dive into, to research, whatever, but you gotta do something when someone starts, they're going to be deciding right away on that day if there was a future for them at that company.
And if you don't show up for them, then the answer's probably no. Number two is priorities. When I talk about priorities, I don't only mean what the priorities are for the team, but how those are communicated. And I think a lot of times when we're the visionary, when we know so, so clearly, like yes, obviously that would be the priority.
When two things come up or they seem like they're competing for attention, of course we know which one to do. Our team members don't always know what to do, and this can create a real disconnect. And I've been on countless teams where the priorities kind of seem like one thing and then it sort of shifted, or some competitive need was in a different place and we had to shift.
And it was in the manager, in the leader's mind of how to go and how to move forward. But it wasn't clear to us until you have over-communicated what are the priorities? What are the priorities for that year, that quarter, maybe that month, maybe that week, until you have communicated at that granular of a level, you can't totally be sure that everybody's on the same page.
You wanna write that down? You wanna map that out. You wanna talk? Well, how do you weigh and assess trade offs? All of this stuff kind of encompasses that process around how priorities are set, and that's gonna help make sure people are on the same page and can make decisions on their own if that comes up.
Number three, expectation setting. We all know, you know, people can't read our minds, but as a founder's entrepreneur, we are busy, we are on the go, and we don't always have the chance to set expect. We don't expectations. People don't know what success looks like. They don't know what we want from them.
They don't know what we need to communicate up the chain. Setting expectations really means how do you want information to flow through your company? How do you wanna be kept informed? What does success look like? What does done look like? What does good enough look like? All of these things are important to share with your team because it's different for everyone.
And I think a big part of this is communicating what is your style as a manager so that people can show up and meet you around those expectations. Hey, I like to be hands-on. I wanna be updated at this interval, or, you know, I wanna let you run with it, and you just tell. Done. Those expectations are completely different and our team members are probably gonna bring in whatever they had before from their manager.
So we wanna be really clear on what we expect as a manager so that our team members can show up for us in that way. Number four is work tracking. Now work tracking is probably the biggest one that makes people wanna bar if, when I talk about process because. People feel like, oh, if I'm tracking my work, I'm being monitored, or I feel like a cog in a machine, or, you know, I just wanna use the system I use.
It's often a post-its, or you know, a list on a notepad or whatever. This is not a tracking system that allows you to have insight into how time's being spent and when you're talking about communicating a process for work tracking. I will tell you, because I have been there so many times, this is really foundational in the work that I did in program management, we have to explain.
What is the why behind it? What is in it for the people using the system? And I remember one time I was getting a design team onboarded onto a work tracking system that the engineering team was using. This wasn't a tech team. And getting designers to use an engineering tracking system is a pretty big lift.
I'm just gonna tell you that if you're not familiar. Now this is people who, when they see the user interface of a engineering tracking system, that makes them wanna barf because it's often function over user experience. So like literally entering the tasks and is, is a whole other beast. And how I got people to use the system was to explain to them why it benefits them.
That, hey, when you enter your work in, this helps me get your work seen in front of leadership. This helps make sure I can get more resources if we're short-staffed. This makes sure that you are getting visibility for your work. All of these things were reasons that benefited them, so they were incentivized to use this tracking system.
This went from being the bane of my existence to something that I love to onboard teams on. Because tracking our work and having insight into how our time is being spent, this is actually liberating. It allows us to really free ourselves up from all the angst of, how long does this take? Can I get it done?
Can I do more? and, and it allows us to really demonstrate that we trust our team members. So the shift really here becomes work tracking's not about not trusting people. It's so that we can really trust them to be creative and free with their time. Number five, making decisions as a founder, as an entrepreneur, as a small business owner, if you are involved in every single decision, well, you're not able to scale like plain and simple and a lot of.
When all the ideas in our heads, then we have to make the decisions. And as the person at the helm of the ship, yes, there are a lot of decisions that we should be making, but there's a lot of decisions that we don't have to be making. And this step in the process mapping is about writing down and thinking through what decisions do you absolutely have to make.
and which ones can you let go of? This might take a little bit of mindset work to to remember that you could let go of a lot more than you maybe realized. And if you can't yet, this is a reminder that you need to build up that bench. You need to build up your leaders so that you can offload things.
Maybe it means you have to hire someone else, or you have to be training someone more, or coaching someone more, but making sure that you. Only the bottleneck for all decisions that is going to help you move faster. Last but not least, performance management. And if you're thinking, well, performance management, I don't need a performance reveal tool.
I only have four employees. This is about all of the things that come together when we're talking about career and performance. This is where pay comes into play. When do I get a raise? When do I get a bonus? This is where we know what's my future. Can I have a different title? How do I know that I'm even doing a good.
Performance management, I think is one of those that we forget about as entrepreneurs or small business owners because we have a small team, because we talk to our team members a lot. We already feel like we've told them the process there, but oftentimes we haven't. This came up recently when I was talking to a business owner who shared one of her employees.
We're always asking, Hey, You know, I did this project, can I get a promotion? I, I finished this thing, can I get a raise? And she was asking her this question all the time and she said like, what am I supposed to do? Like it's, yes, no, you're not gonna get a raise every single week. And I said to her, well, have you had a conversation about, really at the macro, how performance management works?
You know when raises come, when bonuses hit and she realized, no, I hadn't. So we talked about taking a step back and having conversation with the whole team about, Hey, here's, when we do performance reviews annually, we're gonna have a conversation about how you're doing. Promotions will be talked about in that conversation.
Any adjustments we need to make, here's when we do raises, here's how we do profit sharing, so that people didn't have to wonder and be waiting to find out. I think when your team members are waiting to find out when they're gonna get more money. Or when they're gonna get a bonus, or if they might eventually start looking for another job.
Because all that uncertainty can make us feel like, well, do I really have a future here? We wanna make sure we're having that conversation up front and really part of that onboarding process. Number one, the onboarding process probably should include all of these elements. It's sharing this playbook that you'll be mapping out, and then all these elements of, Hey, how do we set expectations?
What does success look like? How do we track work? How does performance management work? How are decisions made? How priority set? All of this is the conversation that we wanna have with teams, either at the outset or at regular intervals so that we make sure people are clear on how to get things. . Now. I said it at the beginning of the conversation and I'll say it again.
Focusing on the how allows you as the founder, as the visionary to focus on the what? Figuring out the how. Making it easier for work to get done. Making it clearer for how to get work done. This is what allows you to scale. This is what allows you to move faster. This is the key to doing more with less.
So if you're thinking, well, I kind of have some of this stuff, or it's good enough, okay, maybe for a little bit of time, but I will assure you when you are trying to get to that next level, when you're trying to go from seven figures to eight figures or eight figures to nine figures, or even beyond, this is gonna come up.
These questions are gonna come up and you are going to want to be ready with all of this documented so that you can hand it to someone and say, here, go for it. Hit the ground running. Now you know how to be successful in this company. And that's what I'm so excited to support you with in my program.
Billion Dollar Ops Playbook for Million Dollar Businesses because across six conversations, we will dive into each of these different areas, talking about what really applies authentically and uniquely to your business. And then behind the scenes, I will document. What are your key processes across these areas?
At the end of the program, you will come away with a completed team operations playbook and a strategy for implementing on your team, enabling you to get out of the weeds back into your zone of genius and keep you in a state of flow, efficiency, and profitability. Even during these lean times ready to get started.
Email me at [email protected] and let's chat.
That's all I have for today. Thank you so much for tuning in to the Managing Made Simple Podcast where my goal is to demystify the job of people management so that together we can make the workplace somewhere everyone can thrive. I always love to hear from you, so please reach out at liagarvin.com or message me on LinkedIn.
See you next time.