People Processes That Create Leverage

In this article we are building Leverage into our business through our People Processes. A powerful way to Leverage your time and resources is to work with the best people in your industry. Adding the right people to your team, training your team to be the best in their category and motivating your team to do better every day is a huge challenge and a pot of gold if you can do it well. Let’s get to work!

Dr. Demming, the world-renown quality guru once said that 94% of all failures in a business are the result of the “systems” in the business and only 6% of the failures are caused by the people in the business. Yet, when we look to find why things go wrong, we often begin first to look at the people involved and “find the guilty party”. If we were honest with ourselves, we would have to admit that the guilt party is most often us – the business owner. We are the ones who are asking our people to work in a “system” that is not clearly defined, without written processes, with faulty equipment and often without sufficient guidance or direction.

So let’s focus on building a better “system” that will both improve the consistency of the output and gain us Leverage at the same time. When it comes to the people side of the business, the best place to start is your hiring process. So, your first question is, “What is your Hiring Process?” Is it repeatable? Is it reliable? Can you be certain that you will make the best hiring decision each and every time? These are critical questions that you need to be able to answer – ABSOLUTELY!

If you are interviewing job candidates one at a time, over a period of days or weeks, it is not likely you will have a robust process. Most hiring processes waste a great deal of people’s time – yours, your team’s and your job applicants. Why not streamline your hiring process by implementing a hiring “system” that will allow you to screen through multiple candidates in a consistent manner in a matter of hours? I can assure you that you would find the process more fulfilling, you will spend less time, your results will be more consistent, and even your job candidates will enjoy it more. Seem too good to be true – not so. Think differently about how you make hiring decisions and your process will surely change.

How about the personal development and skills training for your team? Does every person on your team have their own personal development plan? Are they taking responsibility and ownership for expanding their skills and improving themselves? Are you holding them accountable to read, learn and apply new skills? Why not? It is your business isn’t it? Make it a job expectation. Your team members will thank you as they become more skills, more capable and more confident in their ability to do the job they have been assigned.

Think about your performance assessment process. How do you give feedback to your team members on a regular basis? Is it hit-or-miss or do you have a structured approach? Are you encouraging your team members to give feedback to each other in a constructive way? Rather than you having to do all the reviews and performance feedback, leverage your resources by asking everyone to participate in the process. Constructive feedback from peers is often the most effective way to get people to change their behaviors.

These are just a few of the “systems” you can put in place to gain Leverage from your people processes. Incremental changes in this area can result in not only huge time savings, but also increased performance and on the job satisfaction. Take your people processes seriously. Involve your team in the solutions. They are critical to your success and deserve your best efforts on their behalf.

Put at least one new process in place this week to improve your business team. Incremental improvements. One at a time. Measure and test. It’s not that difficult if you break them down into bite-sized pieces!

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