In normal times — especially for businesses that run on the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, EOS process is anintegral tool that holds your business together. If you read my blog or watch my videos, you know that one of our first EOS® tasks is putting the Right People in the Right Seats. But even if you have the right people, they need to know what to do and how you want it done. That’s where process comes in.
First let me clarify what I mean by process. I am not talking about some ISO 9000 document that describes every single step of every single procedure in which you might engage from the moment you walk in the door on Monday until the day you die. Instead I mean the basic flow of tasks in your handful of key processes described in enough detail for a competent professional (one who gets, wants and has the capacity for the job) can reasonably learn how your company does things without pestering you and follow that process consistently
Clearly documenting and then following key processes standardization, ensures consistency, quality and efficiency. Process drives accountability. It’s what keeps new managers from throwing entire teams into chaos with a “new way of doing things,” and it’s what keeps your employees from tearing their hair out from frustration. Process is your proven way of doing what you do, and it’s now more important than ever.
What Happens in a Crisis?
A crisis is, by definition, chaotic. People become reactive and foresight goes right out the window. Imagine, for example, a fire in a large office building. The alarms start going off and people are immediately running in circles, looking for the stairs they never used. People start arguing over the elevator, searching for fire extinguishers, asking if anyone has called 911. Chaos.
The reasonable, intelligent people that work in the building are suddenly incapable of doing the right thing; not because they are any less intelligent, but because they weren’t ready. They didn’t plan for this problem, and so it became a crisis.
Process in Crisis: Sprinkler Systems and Fire Drills
Process may not seem exciting or flashy, but it’s what saves companies in a crisis. The company that spends extra money on a brand new fire suppression system may not look as flashy as the one that bought a fountain for the lobby, but when that fire starts, they will be ready.
When it comes to the day-to-day operations of your company, the processes in place keep you moving in an efficient manner. But when crises hit, process is more important than ever. When your people know how to react, know what is a priority, and understand exactly what is expected of them, they can work together as a team. And teams make it through crises a heck of a lot better than a group of individuals.
As I write this, the world is beginning to peek out from its COVID-19 bunker. The economy is restarting, restrictions are relaxing. For better or worse, we are returning to some semblance of normalcy.
How did your processes hold up in this crisis? Were you ready? More importantly, will you be ready for the next one? Even if COVID-19 passes into memory, you can be sure that there is always another crisis down the line. It may not be for a few years or it may be in a few short months. Whenever it comes, though, you will need the processes in place to ensure that your team can keep working towards its long-term goals.
Don’t let yourself get caught flat-footed. Embrace the importance of documenting and ensuring compliance with your key processes. Start today. Your adherence to well-documented processes may very well be what helps you turn the next crisis into an opportunity.
Meet the Founder
Jeff Whittle founded and launched Whittle & Partners in 2011. Before that, Jeff practiced law in Dallas for 15 years and has an additional 20 years of executive business experience. He has run businesses ranging from startups to 300-employee operations.