Are you having trouble handing your work off to someone else? Do you find that it’s just easier to do it all yourself? Do you hate putting together workflow systems? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions this post is for you.
I’ve been spending the better part of a week putting together a new workflow system for a service we are offering and I realized something that you might also suffer from. It doesn’t have a clinical name, but I think it should totally be admitted into the DSM one of these days. I’ll have to figure out a name for it. (EDIT: how about “Obvious-osis”)
When we are outlining systems, for others to follow, we take for granted all the little actions that it takes to accomplish things that we no longer think about. They become second nature to us, like they are obvious, but to someone new it’s totally foreign and needs to be spelled out to the “T”
If I said to you, “Hey let’s go grab some dinner, you drive.” What would you do? (Besides wonder why I never drive and why we’re still friends.)
Chances are you’d grab your keys, wallet, and jump in the car and off we’d go. BUT… it’s actually more in depth than that. If we break it down you’ll see that you really did much more. To someone that’s never driven a car before (first off, should they really be driving? probably not) there are a lot of different steps to follow.
Let’s have a look.
– Unlock the car
– get in
– insert key into ignition
– put foot on brake
– fasten seat belt
– turn key
– turn on lights
– check mirror
– shift car into gear
– remove the parking break
– check your mirrors
– check your blind spots
So what seems like second nature, get in the car and go, has quite a few steps that need to be explained for the person who’s going to be doing the work. If you take the time to outline all these steps once, you’ll save a lot of time, money on training, and you also have an accountability process built into your workflow.
A real world example:
I asked one of my partners for a list to help me outline the workflow on something they are an expert at. Our goal is to be able to scale and eventually have someone help them with their work.
They gave me a list of 10 steps and that was a great start. Once we started working together, to outline everything, our end result was a full series of 29 steps that (hopefully) doesn’t let anything fall through the cracks.
If you want to do this for yourself it really helps if you have someone work with you. Grab a colleague, co-worker, or friend and they can (hopefully) play dumb. That will force you to break things down into their most simple steps and will allow ANYONE to be able to perform the task(s) at hand.
As far as outlining your workflows. I find it’s helpful to use a software to manage them all. I really like activeCollab, but there are any number of softwares you can use and they all have their pluses and minuses. Just depends on your needs.
The sooner you start building workflows the sooner you can hand your workload off to others, track what’s being done and what’s falling behind, and you can really scale your projects (read:save time and make more money.)
I’ll leave you with this quote from Einstein:
“Things should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
In the example I shared with you it may seem like expanding our list of “ToDos” from 10 to 29 was making things more complex because we added more steps, but in reality we were making things run much more simple. And as an added bonus we’ll save time and money when it comes to training.
Isn’t it time you performed an Obvious-ectemy on your workflows?