Get ready to unlock the power of efficiency and consistency in your small business with the wisdom of our special guest, Chris Gwinn. This episode offers a deep dive into the world of business operations playbooks. We start off by unraveling the essence of these playbooks and how they can be instrumental in fostering scalability in your business. Chris shares some actionable tips on how to build a playbook starting from company information, policies, and then diving into specific processes and roles.
Ever wondered how standard operating procedures, key performance indicators, and training programs can revolutionize your business operations? Well, prepare to find out as we dissect these elements and more. You'll hear Chris's personal story of supporting his father's business through the development of playbooks and dashboards. We also delve into the importance of process documentation in building standard operating procedures, and the value of visual elements and examples in making these processes more comprehensible.
Finally, let's talk about culture. A playbook isn't just a document, it's a vital part of your company's culture. We'll guide you on how to integrate your playbook into your company's DNA and maintain it to ensure accuracy. Gaining buy-in from top to bottom, and effectively communicating the benefits of the playbook to all your employees is crucial. You'll learn how companies like Great Lakes Advisory can assist in this journey from inception to completion.
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Sponsored by SmartBooks. To schedule a free consultation, visit smartbooks.com.
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Sponsored by SmartBooks. To schedule a free consultation, visit smartbooks.com.
Welcome to the Empowering healthy Business Podcast, the podcast for small business owners. Your host, Cal Wilder, has built and sold businesses of his own. And he has helped hundreds of other small businesses, whether it is improving sales, profitability and cash flow, building a sustainable, scalable and saleable business, reducing your stress level, achieving work life balance, or improving physical and emotional fitness, Cal and his guests are here to help you run a healthier business, and in turn, have a healthier life.Cal Wilder:
Welcome, today, our conversation is going to focus around creating a business operations playbook. And what does that mean? Why is that important and valuable to a business? And where are we going to start with what can be a daunting process? This podcast in general is dedicated to empowering small business owners to run healthy businesses. Part of being a healthy business is having operations that consistently produce the required outcomes that run efficiently, and that new employees can step into and follow without too much confusion and with a pretty low number of mistakes. As we'll see, a good operations playbook is an integral part of this. Joining me today is Chris Gwinn. Chris started his career in banking and finance. He now runs Great Lakes Advisory where he helps small businesses improve their operational performance, which in turn leads to improved financial performance. And a big part of that is helping them create what we'll call a business operations playbook. Welcome, Chris.Chris Gwinn:
Thanks for having me on the podcast today. Well,Cal Wilder:
before we jump into the details of playbooks, let's take a step back and clarify what are some of the problems or challenges we're trying to solve or the opportunities that we're trying to take advantage of by using playbooks?Chris Gwinn:
Well, I think that the the biggest issue, or the biggest opportunity is ultimately creating an environment where we're just doing some of the tasks or some of the responsibilities, some of the apart pieces of the operations that are performed either on like a daily or maybe a weekly basis, there's a pretty high frequency of some of these activities, that these activities are really kind of core to your operations, and that they're ultimately performed consistently the same exact way every single time. Because ultimately, if there is 50 different ways to be able to perform one specific process, it's ultimately going to create a lot of inconsistency, which then creates a lot of issues than as a manager, as a leader, as a business owner, that usually requires you to have to step in. And so ultimately, we're really creating more scalability in a business and really creating a healthy business environment, if there is more consistency. And ultimately, it really allows you as a leader, as a business owner, as a manager to actually effectively delegate some of those activities, some of those responsibilities, some of those processes, to other great employees, and really empowering them to be able to consistently adhere to that specific process, if you do have a playbook in front of them, that outlines all the individual steps that they need to be able to complete.Cal Wilder:
Okay. You know, I'm like probably many small business owners have been running my current business for over a decade at this point. So I've got a lot of information in my head, right. And it would certainly benefit my people and my new hires, if that information were in a place that they could easily access and digest, right? Yeah. And we've gone through a long process over the years of documenting creating playbooks internally as far as books. But I do remember, in the beginning, it just seemed like an incredibly daunting prospect to somehow, you know, document all of our operations, and we struggled to figure out where to start. And so for a business owner who's listening, who wants to implement playbooks, but it's just daunted at the idea or doesn't even know where to start. What advice would you have for them?Chris Gwinn:
Yep. So as far as where to start, and I can completely sympathize, it is pretty daunting to try think, well, how do I download every single thing from my brain that is so like, what's important? And what do I prioritize? what knowledge do I need to share with all of my employees? And where do I even get started? And so from our perspective, where you're going to get the highest ROI is some of that content that needs to be known by all of your employees. So a great place to start is just some of that company information. So capturing or documenting, building out modules about your vision, about your mission, some of your core values, some of your kind of your business model Some of the company history kind of what are the maybe the services or the products that you potentially sell how you actually make money. That's information knowledge that every single one of your employees, regardless if you're an HR, if you're in sales, if you are in customer solution, everyone should understand what you do, how you make money, where you're headed, making sure that we're aligned with that vision with those missions, those core values that we need to embody, after that, making sure that you get all of your policies documented in this playbook. And those are policies that every single employee needs to adhere to, some of these are going to be kind of your maybe it's your PTO policy, maybe it's some of your social media policy, there's various policies, employment policies that everyone needs to be able to adhere to. And those are kind of specific to different industries. But those are going to be kind of huge value add, then after that, and then kind of goes into each of these specific roles and your organization. And that's kind of where we get into a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes down to processes and developing out training. And that's where I think a lot of business owners really struggled to figure out well, what should I prioritize, and in our world, we really kind of ROI in the form of SOPs, and developing training is really kind of a product of two different factors. Factor Number one is How frequently are these processes being performed. So if you have a process that's being performed, every single day, that's going to be a higher ROI process to get documented, standardized, followed by all compared to maybe a process that's only performed quarterly, semi annually or as needed. The other factor to be able to consider is how many employees are performing said process? Well, if you have just make the numbers a little bit easier, if you've have 10 employees that are performing one process on a daily basis, that's going to be higher impact than maybe another similar process that's performed daily by only one employee. Because clearly, at the end of the week, that process has actually performed 50 times compared to the, it's only performed five times. So it's basically 10x, kind of higher on the overall ROI. So making sure that you're kind of very clearly outlining all of and I would really start with all those processes that are performed every single day, every single week, every single month. And not to say that you can't maybe document some of those processes that are performed quarterly, semi annually, or as or maybe on or, or maybe on an as needed basis. But really make sure that you get all the processes are performed daily, weekly and monthly, documented first. And then for after you document those processes, making sure that you're having conversations with your employees and making sure that you're capturing some of that knowledge, some of the soft skills, and some of the other helpful background information that's would be helpful to share prior to performing those processes, just so that you can set better expectations.Cal Wilder:
That makes sense, Chris, sounds like you've been through this many times at this point. I'm kind of curious what you started out in banking and finance and what cause you to kind of shift your career focused more toward operations into playbooks, specifically.Chris Gwinn:
Yeah, so my entire entrepreneurial journey started a little over kind of eight, nine years ago, at the time I was in Portfolio Management, I was actually at Northern Trust, doing wealth management, and about 80 or so million dollars in assets that I was managing, but I kind of found myself a little bit bored. It was a great job, I really did enjoy a lot of the clients that we worked with, but found myself a little bit bored and always kind of had that entrepreneurial itch. And at the same time, my dad is a business owner and was really struggling to keep his head above water. He was constantly putting up fires dealing with internal issues, employees not following tasks the correct way. And so he approached me and asked me if I wouldn't mind taking a look at some of his operations to see if there's any opportunity to make the business a little bit easier to manage. And obviously, he's my dad, I've got a lot of loyalty towards family. So I was more than happy to take a look. And so as I began to dissect their operations, interview, some of their employees review their financials, I quickly come to find out that they had absolutely zero standard operating procedures, zero KPIs in place zero training, it was essentially throw the employees the wolves, see if they can figure out on their own, and I really don't have any type of visibility into the overall operations. And so to me, it intuitively made a lot of sense why employees weren't following tasks, the correct way, I'm using air quotes right here, because there really wasn't a correct way to be able to do anything because nothing was actually defined. And so I took the initiative to interview all of their subject matter experts capture all that knowledge, formalize it into standard operating procedures, created real time, KPI, dashboards, developed out all these training all these playbooks and then shared it with and really implemented across the entire organization. Fast forward, I saw firsthand the entire impact on the employees, I noticed that it helped to increase the overall productivity, consistency profitability of the organization, I also noticed that it actually increased overall employee morale, job satisfaction. And then from the business owners perspective, my dad actually suffered some some heart complications, he's gone through multiple rounds of ablation surgery, and much of that is likely stress induced. Because up until that point, the the business is heavily reliant on the business owner, or the entrepreneur or management to actually manage the daily operations. And so I noticed in my dad's case, it allowed him to actually reduce the number of working hours in a given week, because he had the business the operations was now running on repeatable process, and allowed him to actually reduce the number of working hours in a given week and focus a little bit more on just alleviating some of that stress, increasing his overall health and well being, and just improving, just living his best life. And so taking a step back, and just realizing what an incredible impact that processes KPIs training, playbooks could have on an organization, I realized that there was certainly a much larger need outside of his business. So I opened up Great Lakes advisory back in 2018.Cal Wilder:
That's a great story, Chris, I'm glad you were able to help your father's business out there. So let's let's talk in a little more detail about, you know, what this playbook looks like, right? So we, some of us have visions of, you know, a Microsoft Word document, or, you know, a SharePoint site or something else, you know, maybe we have videos, maybe a text, maybe have diagrams, you know, talk to us about the, you know, the tangibly, what kind of documentation are we really talking about what the playbook.Chris Gwinn:
Yep, so our best practice is to build it out in a playbook application. And in our world, really, the gold standard of all the playbook applications is an application called train Yule is spelled T our ai n u a l, it is a fantastic application to be able to build out all of your playbooks. But not only that, you can actually build out all of your, your company information, you can build out all of your policies, you can build out your org chart, really everything, it really becomes a centralized all in one location, really single place of truth for everything that your employees need to understand about your company, and also about how to perform their daily responsibilities. And so what we want to be able to build out is not only those SOPs, which are really kind of a standardized, kind of set of clear and black and white instructions that if you follow each of these individual steps, you will achieve that same exact result or outcome. So you do want to again, build out all break down. And I would really break down each of the different departments or functions of your organization, again, probably by the headcount of those employees, and then build out SOPs around the processes that are performed again, daily, weekly, monthly. So these could be maybe your sales process, maybe it is kind of how you're serving your customers. Maybe it is how you're invoicing your customers, how is maybe running payroll, maybe it's how you're onboarding your employees, but ultimately standardizing all of those core processes, capturing the knowledge that's needed to be able to reform those responsibilities. And just setting very clear expectations. As far as the tangibles of how it actually looks. It is usually a combination of written text, but then also adding some visual elements. So if you're using maybe a, an accounting software, such as QuickBooks, or Xero, you're showing you're maybe kind of taking screenshots to show visually kind of how to navigate that particular process. Or maybe if there's something that's a little bit easier to explain, via just kind of verbally and set up kind of written language, maybe you're showing kind of a capturing a interaction with or how to present to customers how to maybe conduct or facilitate a client conversation or maybe a proposal review or something along those lines where it's a little bit easier to explain just through video. Um, that's where an application says his training and makes it really easy to be able to just embed those videos or those auditory elements in just directly into the application. And then beyond that, building out all of those quizzes or really existing knowledge, check outcomes, so that you can actually verify all of that or like whether or not the employee actually understands everything that's assigned to them. But the reason that an application says it's trainable or kind of a playbook application is so much more powerful and impactful it compared to maybe Google Drive, or maybe kind of a SharePoint site or maybe a Dropbox is that ultimately, if you get down to it, you really just take a step back. And this is maybe might sound a little bit contradictory coming from an individual that basically builds his entire entire company is built around just documenting processes to developing training. But I actually do not think that SOPs, training videos buy in enough in just being in and of itself is very valuable, just having a set of SOPs just for the sake of saying that I own SOPs, or that I own a playbook or that I just am a proud owner of training is very valuable, just because you don't really receive any valuable or any value just from owning it. The value is really from transferring that knowledge and to your employees, and making sure that they are consistently adhering to those processes. And so it makes it a little bit more challenging, to be able to actually achieve that level of adoption, ensuring that those processes are followed by all if all of those SOPs are scattered around a ton of different locations, you can never access any of that information. And it becomes a little bit cumbersome or overwhelming, rather, for some of your employees, if I just gave an employee a 500, page operating manual written in Word and said, Hey, Joe, just read all these 500 pages and just understand everything there, you probably nod your head and say, Oh yeah, I definitely read all 500 pages, and they probably didn't read a lick of it. And at the same time, there's probably only maybe like 75 of those pages that actually truly applies to that particular function. Instead, with train, you will, it makes it much easier to be able to only equip that employee not to say that they can't become cross trained, but make it really easy to digest really easy, and very specific to their role to their function. And so that you're only giving them the information, all the resources, the SOPs, the training that is relevant and applicable to their job. And they can also search all that information. And then longer term becomes much easier from a version control perspective that you can own that you only have to update it in one single location. If you build out all of your processes all of your policies and train you will you just oh you only have to update one single location, rather than having multiple different locations where a word SOP might be located. If someone's printing off it, maybe you have an old school, three ring binder that's printed off rather than having to read like republished that are kind of printed out again, and making sure that those employees have access to those SOPs, you can just update one location, reset it and force all of your employees to go through and review that content again. And then there's full reporting. So there's just a lot greater visibility, accountability, when he built it out in that playbook application, such as training will compare to maybe some of the other options that are available out there.Cal Wilder:
I want to ask you about the appropriate level of detail to include in the documentation. I've seen the gamut from EOS is minimum viable product, which is barely useful. It's several bullet points, but doesn't really tell you necessarily how to do anything, but it's a heck of a lot better than nothing, all the way through, you know, operations manuals that are dozens of pages long on very specific procedures. But those can become obsolete very quickly as anything changes. You know, you've got a liability all of a sudden to update very detailed documentation. So what what you recommend as far as the appropriate level of detail?Chris Gwinn:
Yeah, there is a balance between the two. Yeah, I don't find a while I we've actually run on EOS. A lot of our clients run on EOS. I love the simplicity of kind of the process documentation framework of Eos, but I do find it in practice. It's maybe almost too simplified to the point where Yes, I understand that tells me to do this step this step in this step but I don't still not completely clear on exactly how to complete each of those steps in that particular process. So that's where I would recommend trying to keep your overall kind of SOPs relatively short, I would probably keep them below or under probably five to kind of seven steps and try to keep each step kind of relatively short. But then going a little bit deeper in some of the knowledge that you capture, I do find that actually capturing some of the examples of actually just walking through that entire process, from beginning to end, capturing the visual elements does make it a little bit simpler to be able to capture that knowledge. So I think a good I guess checkpoint of how deep or how, like, how in depth do you need to actually cover is that if you hand this SOP over to a brand new employee, or to someone that has never performed that process, are they able to achieve that outcome or that result that the SOP is targeting, if they're not, then there might be a couple of missing gaps in some of your process documentation, there might be some gaps in your training. And that's where having kind of a fresh eyes, having maybe an outside perspective does become really valuable when throughout our client engagements, because it is sometimes a little bit challenging. When you are working in the business, you are very ingrained. You are immediate an owner of this particular process, there's sometimes some parts of the process that are maybe just incredibly intuitive, that's you just think that there's a lot of assumptions sometimes that are made that every employee should just understand how to perform this, but it's maybe less intuitive from a new hires perspective, but I would test and actually assign that to the new employees and make sure that they're actually holding them that you are holding them accountable, making sure that that process is performed correctly. And if it's if you're finding that it's consistently not still not achieving that desired outcome, then I would probably look back at that level of process documentation or your your process documents or your SOPs, and just verify whether or not maybe we're missing some pieces, or some critical elements of the process.Cal Wilder:
I'm curious how the playbook kind of gets integrated into the overall business, it's one thing to have all the processes documented very well. But how's that deployed within the organization and used in terms of new hire, onboarding, continuing education integrated into quality control frameworks and processes? To make sure they're being followed? How's it how's this great playbook used once it's built?Chris Gwinn:
Yeah, well, it really begins with the entire onboarding and training of all of your employees. So it really begins with day one, and setting those clear expectations. And so that's where, as I mentioned earlier, in the conversation, one of the highest ROI elements is some of that information that every one of your employees regardless of the function needs to understand. That's, that's the company information. Those are the vision, the core values, your mission, kind of your business model, your history, kind of who you serve, what solutions or products you offer to your customers, the policy. So making sure that all of that information is assigned to your employees, that all of your employees review all that information on day one, or during the first couple of weeks during onboarding. And then it goes into kind of their specific kind of unique training path that really kind of guides them through all of the responsibilities, how to perform set of responsibilities, some of the knowledge that's needed to understand to be able to perform those, maybe there's some soft skills or maybe some technical knowledge that you need to be able to cover and really making sure that you're kind of implementing it from that from that standpoint. And then from there, that's where tying all of this into KPIs is kind of where we're creating greater accountability in some of that quality assurance that, yes, we can review all this stuff. But ultimately, everything that we're doing is should be evident in some of those critical drivers. And really your KPIs, so really tying a leading and lagging KPI to each of the different departments or even if you want to even drill down a little bit further into some of those core processes, and really making sure that we're constantly monitoring those KPIs so that we are making sure that they are being adhered to in practice.Cal Wilder:
Yeah, it's interesting. You mentioned leading and lagging KPIs. A lot of processes if not followed, might not immediately cause a problem, but a week or a month or a quarter or a year later for problem can arise because the SOP was not followed in the past. And so I think it's really important to, like you said, to identify some leading indicators that, you know, revenue is a lagging indicator, customer retention is a lagging indicator, but what are the things that are going to be leading indicators that put us in a position to be successful and indicate that, you know, good processes are being followed before you can actually measure the outcome?Chris Gwinn:
Yeah, well, you see, there's a couple of activities. And I mean, maybe, look, I mean, every state, there's going to be a different leading indicator for every single different function, I feel like sales is probably the most universally relatable kind of function that applies to every single business model regardless, but looking at your sales process, well, the outcome of your sales process is that if you follow each of these individual steps, you're probably going to result in either new revenue, or maybe a new customer or some type of lagging indicator, but there's probably some type of leading indicator that allows you to be able to actually achieve or maybe start that sales process, whether or not that is just like an intro call, maybe it is like scheduling a demo, maybe it is some type of like conversion from like your marketing function, maybe there's like a discovery call, maybe there's just like the number of like outbound or inbound touchpoints that you have with some of those leads that ultimately funnels down into an actual closed business or new customer. The other form would maybe be from a see from maybe a financial or like accounting perspective, probably, obviously, to be able to kind of invoice all of your customers, maybe just how frequently you are invoicing your customers, making sure that like you're you're you're invoicing your customers on time, maybe there's some touch points, and to actually collecting those, I mean, some of those outstanding receivables that maybe you have on the books that ultimately, if you don't send out those invoices, they're probably not those invoices probably are going to become a little bit more dated. So that's probably maybe another leading example as well. But a good place to maybe start is that after you have all of those SOPs documented, looking at some of the first kind of initial first three or four different steps and looking, what are the activities that are taking place in those first three, are there specific measurables, or metrics or activities that we're tracking that could tie and actually is influential of that lagging indicator to?Cal Wilder:
So let's, I'm kind of going back now to the implement, you know, the building and the playbook phase. This all sounds great, but I'm still a little bit hung up if I'm a small business owner, and I do not have the luxury of like full time dedicated operations manager who can just own the playbook. But I've got to draw upon maybe I do a little bit myself, I have a couple of other key employees or managers who could contribute to it. How do we kind of define divide up and conquer and, and get a good playbook written where we've got a bunch of people who will be working on it, you know, on a part time basis?Chris Gwinn:
Well, I think you really have to kind of divide and conquer. And I would really start, especially for, for some of the folks that are maybe a little bit early on in their kind of entrepreneurial or kind of the life of kind of your business, but really start with some of the parts or some of the processes, or some of the elements of your operations that really have not changed in the last couple of months, we've done it the same, it's the same exact way, maybe it's just not being adhered to across the board. But we don't really foresee it changing next month or the following month. But as when, when folks are just getting started, a lot of times, we're still kind of figuring out the process. And at that point you I would actually really advise against documenting things that are just constantly changing, you're really reinventing the like the wheel until you figure out what works, you do need to kind of figure out what works. And then you just need to kind of consistently follow that same exact process. But I would break out each of the different functions of your team or have your entire company boil down the top five processes, these are usually going to be the processes that are performed every single week or every single day. And then assign just one owner to each of those processes and set a very clear goal that hey, over the next 30 days or over the next 90 days, we need you to document these five or these kind of six processes and we need to kind of have you build it all out and train you will we all So have, I'd be happy to share a couple of like resources frameworks that I can share with you in the show notes for folks to be able to download. And you can kind of use that as kind of a good starting point. Because we do have a lot of like suggestions of processes that do exist in the majority of businesses, that could also be kind of a good place to start to, but I would list out the top five different processes, assign just one owner because if you have more than one person that's accountable for one person, then ultimately you have zero accountability, you just need to have one person that's accountable for that area, then set very clear deadlines, and then set a cadence of checking in kind of every other week or every week to get an update on all the progress on where we're at in all those processes.Cal Wilder:
Okay, so how long does it often take? What's the typical time rings to for a company to build his first playbook?Chris Gwinn:
Well, there's, hey, kind depends on the size of the company. I mean, for some folks, it can take upwards of like six to 12 months, other folks, if we're just getting started, maybe we want to just get all the stuff done that for our customer solutions, or maybe our service, or maybe the product that we're producing the stuff that's going to create the highest ROI. So if you're just building out just one department, one area where you have the highest headcount, you could probably knock that out and maybe a month or so. On average, it kind of really depends on the overall time commitment that everyone or all those owners are placing towards the playbook.Cal Wilder:
Okay. And then once it's built, what do you recommend as far as maintaining it at work frequency, quality, controlling the playbook to make sure it's still accurate? There are parts that need to be retired or replaced? Going through that process? What do you recommend?Chris Gwinn:
Yeah, so I would recommend, at a minimum, probably reviewing all of those SOPs, at least on probably a quarterly or maybe a semi annual basis. So the individual that was originally accountable for building out all of those SOPs, all of that training is usually the process owner. So having that individual go through review at all, John a, maybe a quarterly or semi annual basis, just confirming the overall accuracy. But also, when you're using train Yule, or when you're using one of these playbook applications, you're assigning all this content to all of your employees, but also collecting feedback from those employees and understanding making sure that you're getting that your, hey, we're after you went through all of these training modules, after you went through all of those as a piece, what were some of the pieces that were maybe missing in some of that documentation, so making sure that as the owner, or maybe have the leader of that particular function or department, then you're collecting that feedback from your employees, and then you're constantly keeping it up to date. But at a minimum, I would advocate really for about on a quarterly basis reviewing that because if you wait too long, then ultimately laws documentation becomes very stale. But every single time you onboard, you train new employees, that's always going to be a great opportunity to collect some additional feedback, identify some gaps, or air opportunities for improvements, but just reviewing it on kind of a quarterly basis.Cal Wilder:
Okay. So Chris, if I were to kind of quickly recap what we've covered so far, in terms of creating a playbook, first step might be prioritizing the topics which SOPs really need to get done first into the playbook and any key culture and compliance content that needs to be in the playbook. And then looking at, you know, what are the most commonly used most frequently used processes that will have the biggest bang for the buck to get done more consistently, then assign some owners and goals for completing the documentation, determine a playbook platform and appropriate level of detail to use to compile the documentation, then make sure it's aligned with some KPIs that measure the performance against the SOPs, both leading and lagging indicators. And then follow a cadence of obtaining feedback from folks who are using the playbook and owners of different sections in the playbook maintaining their sections of the playbook. Is that not a good summary of this process? Yep,Chris Gwinn:
that's exactly it. All right. IsCal Wilder:
there anything, anything else you'd like to add related to business operations playbooks before we wrap up here?Chris Gwinn:
Yeah, I would say that, I guess just kind of a closing kind of comments that I know that for a lot of folks that processes out Um, it's not the most sexiest thing in the world, it's not the most fun and enjoyable kind of, hey, I need a bunker down, I need to get these processes documented. But the thing that I want to kind of leave a lot of business owners, just to kind of understand is that you can get by for a little while of maybe not having these processes, and it's okay, we can probably maybe reach our first million dollars with knots, maybe having really great standardized operations, but there is going to come a time, there's going to come a place where that chaos is just not scalable, it's not sustainable there is you're going to reach a certain plateau, where you really cannot break through this glass ceiling. If we cannot consistently onboard all of our employees, we cannot consistently serve all of our customers and ultimately reached that level of scalability. And all that scalability is rooted in having standardized operations having standardized processes that are codified and followed by all. And so once you do get to the point where hey, we have figured out, Hey, these are some of the processes that are working, they're they're working well, we just need to make sure that everyone is aligned, we need to make sure that everyone is adhering to it, that's at the point that I would really highly recommend getting started, there's really never a point where you're too early in this journey. And once you have figured out that these processes are working, that's kind of at a point that I would kind of get started with some of that documentation.Cal Wilder:
Right, right. You have any advice, as far as you know, you know, making the playbook a core part of the culture. So it's not, you know, something that, you know, operations worries about in the corner, it's a living breathing part of the business, you know, I assume, you know, founder and CEO needs to be heavily bought into it and engaged with it. But what are some of the from your experience? Can you draw on any, any stories or examples about how companies have been able to very effectively make the playbook just a core part of their DNA?Chris Gwinn:
Well, I do think that buy in is a critical element. And I think buy in really comes from the top down, it really needs to be clearly communicated from leadership, ideally, maybe the business owner or maybe kind of the second in command, maybe that's a CEO or a Director of Operations, or maybe an integrator, but I highly recommend and I think I kind of pulled this from kind of Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People, but communicate the benefits of having these playbooks in place for all of your employees in terms of their perspective, not in terms of, hey, this is going to make us so much more consistent, so much more scalable, because some employees might care about it. But that might not necessarily be the true benefit to them. For you. What I would communicate is things that they care about, maybe it's making sure that they have the proper coverage, if they want to be able to take PTO making sure that if they do need to take a day off on PTO, that they can have someone else step in from their team and consistently have that coverage in place. But also making sure that as the leader of that department, you're constantly pointing to those SOPs, if you find that you're getting sucked into the day to day operations, correcting issues for employees that are not performing that process, rather than having the just immediately jump into like, Hey, I'm gonna just jump in and just help you fix this issue, pointing to Hey, did you happen to review this SOP that I know explains exactly how to do that process. So really heavily relying on those SOPs to increase the overall adoption, making sure that all of your employees are constantly leaning on those SOPs rather than relying on the leaders or the departments because ultimately, that empowers greater autonomy, greater scalability and make sure that they're just using those SOPs consistently.Cal Wilder:
And your firm Chris, Great Lakes advisory, what role do they tend to play with small businesses in this process? Yeah, soChris Gwinn:
we help organizations create greater consistency and establish accountability by ensuring that their processes are followed by all simplest way to explain it is that we help you essentially download your entire all the brains of your All Star employees and formalize that into standard operating procedures. We help you build out real time KPIs tied to the outcomes of your processes. We help you to develop customized training and we help you to improve your processes. We essentially help you implement your entire trend, you'll account and build out all those playbooks from beginning to end making sure that those are adopted across the entire organization and really creating greater consistent See and accountability across the organization so that you're constantly moving the needle on some of those critical drivers that are creating the highest impact and greatest momentum towards your greater vision.Cal Wilder:
And imagine playbooks are like some other things that it's possible to learn it and do it yourself. But you can get it done faster. And better the first time around if you work with an expert who's done this before, right?Chris Gwinn:
If any of our listeners want to follow up with you, directly, what's the best way for them to get in touchChris Gwinn:
Feel free to visit us at GreatLakesAdvisory.com. with you? We've got tons of great content, blogs, resources available on there. There's also kind of a scheduling link Contact Us form. So feel free to reach out to us if you ever need help with training, you will documenting processes, building up KPIs dashboards for your organization, implementing training, we'll, we're really always happy to share our knowledge resources, and really kind of be a value add for any listeners to hear today.Cal Wilder:
We'll get your contact info in the show notes as well as any of those playbook related templates that you want to share or links to resources that you think would be very helpful related to business operations playbooks. So thanks again, Chris. Reference shownotes and find other episodes on empoweringhealthybusiness.com. If you would like to have a one on one discussion with me, or possibly engaged smart books to help with your business, you can reach me at CAL@EmpoweringHealthyBusiness.com or message me on LinkedIn where I am easy to find. Until next time, this is Empowering Healthy Business, the podcast for small business owners signing off.