Save Time and Increase Peace of Mind With Process Maps
A process map is a planning and management tool that visually describes the flow of work in your business. It refers to the activities which define what a business entity does, who is responsible, to what standard a business process should be completed, not to mention, how the success of a business process can be determined. Joe shows you how to create your first process map and gain the numerous benefits including but not limited to: visibility of your end-to-end processes, support operational excellence, support induction and training, show compliance, identify and mitigate risk, and create an overall snapshot of your business!
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Calling: Awaken to the Purpose of Your Work – by Pierce Brantley
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My name is Joe Newton and I am one of the co-hosts of the Eternal Entrepreneur podcast. And if you remember the last time I was on the Lunch Break, we talked about how to start bringing structure and organization to your business. By first, asking the question who is doing what by when, and then starting to think of our company more as departments or silos, even if we only had ourselves or one or two other employees.
Now, today, I want to take this concept another step further and begin to create actual process maps for your business. As a reminder, process mapping is simply a visual representation of your systems and processes.
Think of a flow chart that shows you the, who is doing what by when. All right, let's get started now, before you actually start to put pen to paper and create the process map, there is one little pointer I wanted to give you and that. Is don't try to make it pretty the goal when starting is just to get it out on paper, you can come back later, you can clean it up.
You can reformat it, put it into the computer, do all of that stuff. The first time you go through, I recommend just using a dry erase board or even sticky notes are great. Something that is easy to move around and to edit, especially if you use sticky notes. You can use a different color for each department or each role, just like with the whiteboard, you could use a different color, a dry erase marker for each one of those.
So it makes it really helpful when looking up there and saying, you know what? This step actually comes before this one, or we forgot when we need to move these down. You want to be able to edit it and not feel like you have to totally reformat the whole thing. Okay. Now actually starting the process map.
The first step is going to be choosing the right first process. And when choosing the first process, it's going to be tempting to choose the hardest or most tragic project. The one that is the squeakiest wheel crying for the grease, but as a, as a, just a helpful hint. A lot of times I see that this can often.
It can be the most complex, controversial, or even complicated process for you. And therefore it might not give you the momentum that you're looking forward to continue to process map all of your processes or even finished that one. So for your first process, you really want something that is going to give you a bit of confidence on momentum.
You're you're looking for the Goldilocks of processes. It's not too hard. It's not too easy. It's just. Right. And for me, when I'm looking for that first process, I want to make sure that one it's doable. You can make it through to that. It's going to have impact. It's something that once you map this out, it's going to have an actual application very quickly.
The next thing I look for when choosing that first process is one that it's going to be obvious. So most of the steps within the process. Are going to be obvious. We're not going to have to think real deep, long, and hard about the steps. And then finally, it's something that's going to help you create that momentum, possibly that last step in that process, maybe that's the trigger for the next process so that you can just start going from next to next to next.
And again, give you that momentum to keep you going through this. Okay. So. We've chosen which process we're going to focus on. And we're looking to start now, the first step you want to do when starting to actually process map is define the beginning and define the end. And the reason we do this is so that it's clear to everyone involved, even yourself.
If it's just you, when this process begins and when it. And it's because we don't want to have a whole lot of bleed when we're midway through being like, okay, is that the end? Should the next process actually begin? Or would this actually be a whole different process? So right from the start, we want to make it real clear to ourselves.
Where does this process start and where does this process, and now to do this, the first thing I want you to do is simply draw a circle and write the word, start. And then ask yourself the question. How do we know this process starts? What is the trigger? What is the routine that kicks this process into action?
Some quick examples might be the lead comes in. We receive an email. Phone calls made. What is that one step that lets us know this process has begun. And once you have that, right, that under that, that circle, or you can erase the word start and write it inside the circle, but the next step. Is that the other end of your board, write another circle and write the word in and you guessed it, ask yourself how do we know this process ends and define it and simply write that next to or inside that circle.
Okay. So we've defined the start and we've defined the end to our process. What happens next? And who's doing it by, that's what we're going to ask ourselves now, now that we have that start and finish, let's go back to the start and ask ourself, what is the next step? And who's doing it. And I recommend by starting off doing this by thinking again of departments or silos that we defined last time.
Don't don't. Get too granular with all of the steps you don't want to get caught up with. I moved my mouse up here. I click on this here. Then I open this file there. We really want to stick to that high level thinking when we're first doing the process mapping. And so sorry. So we're, we're thinking from a high level and we're asking ourself, what is the next step?
And who's doing it, and then we're writing it down. And then if it happens to be a different department, again, we're using a different color, we're using a different, a sticky note, but we go and just do that for the whole process until we hit that step, that triggers that end action step. And you're done.
You've done it. You have now created a process map. Congratulations. See, it's not rocket science. It's not sexy. It's just process mapping. Okay. I've got a few quick tips for you just to help you along the way. The first quick tip is again, don't make it pretty the first time through it's going to change and you will think of steps that you forgot, et cetera.
Don't make it pretty. You understand that now the next tip is the first time you go through, write down the process as it. Currently is not, as you wished it would be, it's going to be tempting as you're going through the process to be like, Oh, well actually, if we did this, it would be better. Or if we did that, it would be better.
And I find that just really slows things down and complicates things and you can get with it. Have a product at the end that you're not sure, like, is this what we do? When are we going to implement these things? Do we just start doing all of it now? So the first time you go through and create a process map, just do it as the process is today imperfect as it might be, get it on paper so that you know where you are today.
And then go back through and implement the changes that you'd like to make. And you can get a plan together to say, Hey, we're going to start using this technology. We're going to get this education. We're going to create this template. And then once those have been implemented, go back and update your process map.
Okay. Tip number three. Focus on what happens 90% of the time, not the exceptions. This kind of goes along with the last step. You want to map out what is going to happen. The vast majority of the time, there are going to be so many, well, if this, then that, but you want to put down on paper, what happens most of the time, especially the first time you're going through and, and creating a process map.
So this way. It's going to be something that you can use right away. You can get with training, new people and say, Hey, 90% of the time, these are the steps you'll take. Then if you need to, you can go back and create a separate map that shows the legs that are the exceptions, or you just write down a quick description of what those exceptions are for the person who's utilizing that process.
But it's going to be most useful if the first time through you just write down what happens most of the time. Okay. Tip number four. The final tip, finally, because I know some of you're asking, we talked about it a little bit before, but how detailed do I really get? How much do I write down? And this is a great question.
So here's a simple example. If there are 20. Sequential steps in a process. And one person does five to 10 of those back to back to back to back. Most likely you can put those in one activity box, and then later on you can take those steps and you can break them out for that person. They can define their specific role in what that map is for that role.
But especially when you're doing that hire these higher level ones, you don't want to get caught in that minutia that we talked about earlier, as far as. I opened this program. I click this button. You just want the high level, this happens. This is the person who does it. And this is when they do it by I'm going to give you two golden rules for this.
So the first one is if they don't have to ask someone else for something. Then keep it as one action. And the second golden rule is as long as they don't have to make a decision, keep it one action. So it's one of those two things. If they don't have to reach out to someone else or get something else from someone other than themselves, or they don't have to make a decision, most likely it is one.
Action step. And if they do have to do one of those, then you would, I want to break it out. If they're having to reach out to another department or another role within your company, you'd want to break out those steps to include both of those roles. And if they want to make, if they have to make a decision then you're just gonna, and to draw a little diamond shape and you're going to break it off.
So. A quick example, would that would be, we had a sales meeting with a client and the client either says yes, or they say no, if they say, yes, you have a branch that branches off and says, yes, and then you go, what your next step is. And then if they say, no, you have another branch that goes off and says, Hey, this is what our follow-up process is.
Okay. You understand? Those are the quick tips for process mapping. Now we are into our action step. And again, this, this whole episode was probably a, you probably guessed a lot what the next steps were. So today's action. Step is we want you to choose one process that you want to map out. Then once you've chosen that process.
Decide what the start is, decide what the ending step is. And then. Do the three main steps in between that's right. You heard me no more. So, max, what are the five steps in that process? This is going to give you a quick win and it's an easy way to start applying all of this process of. Process mapping so that you can then go back and you can break it out into more detailed steps, but just going through the process of doing the start, the finish, the five steps is going to get you thinking in that way.
So it's going to be a lot easier when you jump into the, the, the more of the details of your process. Okay. I hope some of this has been helpful. Have an amazing week, and we cannot wait to connect with you again on the eternal entrepreneur. Thank you so much for listening today. If you enjoyed this show, please leave us a five star review.
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Or visit piercebrantley.co/podcast. Thanks again. And we'll see you next week