Are you FED UP Having to Repeat Instructions to your Team all the Time?

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As a business owner or leader, it can be frustrating to repeat yourself over and over again without getting the expected results. Giving instructions to your team is not always easy, as you may have experienced by now.

We understand what it feels like to have your team not listening, with seemingly every instruction going in one ear and out the other. As the business continues to suffer from repeated mistakes and inefficiencies, you find yourself growing more and more frustrated. It seems like no matter how many times you provide instructions, your team just can’t seem to get it right. You begin to doubt your own management abilities and you wonder if it’s the people you’re employing or if it’s you.

The reason this is happening is that your team doesn’t have a shared understanding of how to get the task done. There are so many holes and inconsistencies in their knowledge that even when you’re explaining something to them, they can’t ‘see’ what you’re saying. So what you need is a framework to develop systems and processes that actually guides them to the desired outcome. So when they know how to achieve it, you can stop repeating yourself and driving yourself nuts.

Instead of repeating yourself over and over again and going nuts, what you need is a framework that provides clear instructions and processes that your team can easily understand and follow along. A framework that will give a consistent business outcome for your clients… A real, practical framework that you can apply to reduce your stress and headaches, so your team will start to operate like a well oiled machine.

So what we did was to create this simple 5-Step Systems framework that explains how to clearly document your tasks and processes which your team can follow every time, so you only have to explain yourself once.

Colin, who runs a dental practice, was becoming more frustrated by the day. There were a number of small errors in administrative tasks compiling and making his life much harder than it needed to be until he started questioning his own management ability.

For instance, even after he’d explained to his team exactly how to store their clients physical dental records, he would find himself frustrated and irritated every time he searched for them before a client consult. When Colin needed his client’s records, he found himself looking in three different locations or being forced to dig through boxes of records making a two minute task become a thirty minute task. One day, Colin decided he needed to take action. He realised that he needed to reevaluate the way he was providing instructions and determine what changes needed to be made in order to ensure that the team understood and followed them.

When Colin engaged us, we identified a number of key areas where improvements could be made, including creating clearer and more concise systems to provide a strong basis for more effective training and support, and implementing these systems to track progress and identify further areas for improvement.

For example, we followed our 5-Step Systems framework below with Colin and his team to capture all of the major tasks in the business, including the process to record, store and retrieve these critical dental records. Following the framework, the process became so bullet-proof that Colin was confident his team could apply it consistently with absolute reliability.

On our next visit to see Colin, I actually overheard the dental nurse explaining the process to their new receptionist and Colin said he felt so positive about the results from applying the framework, he’s now able to praise his team, instead of becoming stressed every time he has to locate these records.

By creating clearer and more concise instructions, providing more training and support, and implementing systems to track progress and identify areas for improvement, Colin regained confidence in his leadership abilities and reduced his stress and overall workload.

To ensure that you get the process right, there are five critical steps you must follow.

These include:

Framework A summary of what we actually did…

Define the Process

Agree on the actual start and finish of the process, the preparation and tidy-up steps and walk through the process to confirm understanding

We discussed the problem with Colin and his team to clearly identify that we needed a practice-wide process to manage these physical dental records.

The Start was receipt of a new dental record, and the Finish was the record being stored & recorded.

We walked through and agreed on the key steps.

Clarify what is required

This step covers the actual process to move from the input stage through to output, taking note of the risks within the process, the benefits that can be achieved if the process is followed as written, and noting the roles required to complete the process

We noted the risks based on the team’s past experience: not using standard client details on the label; not recording the tub number, not updating the register when physical records were removed or replaced.

The benefits were obvious: 100% reliability in record-keeping, minimal time spent accessing records and less frustration all round.

Record the Process

Here, we map the process, including the options and alternate paths. Critically, we also capture the props (the checklists, videos, forms, templates, registers, scripts and all the other tools which keep the process moving). Lastly, we assign the roles to each step of the process.

Working together, we agreed on each step of the new process as we built the flowchart step by step, making sure to confirm understanding along the way.

Once we’d captured the whole process, we walked through it and checked for logic, and tweaked a few steps.
We added in the register, noting down the details we’d need for each record. We identified the Receptionist as the only role involved in the process, so responsibility was clear.

Check the Process

This critical step involves reviewing the process that was recorded to confirm that each risk has been managed within the process or has been identified for treatment elsewhere, that we have contributed to the benefits identified in step two, and that the roles are clear and correctly assigned.

With our draft process ready, we checked it against the risks and benefits we’d recorded. We were happy that the process would take away the stress everyone had associated with these records in the past.

Launch the Process

The fifth step involves refining the process that we mapped to make sure that it matches internal standards, and then to deploy or publish the process to the client Internet. It is then up to the client to implement the system within the business which means training first of all the team, and then as the need arises, the company, the business suppliers and clients. There may also be an opportunity to display the process on the website or in marketing or other materials.

With everything ‘signed off’ we published the new process to their intranet, along with the register.

Good to go. … Almost.

It was now up to the Receptionist to train everyone else in the team in how the process worked, from start to finish. Each team member concluded their training with a live example, recording a record in the register, storing the record and updating the register.

Believe us. Everyone was smiling.

Our 5-step framework is an exceptional tool as it enables you to tap into the collective knowledge of your team, offers guidance for smooth implementation of the system, establishes clear expectations for desired outputs, caters to all learning styles, and helps everyone see the bigger picture beyond individual tasks. Our team applies this framework to every flowchart we create, as depicted in the illustration below. This example

An oversimplification of the whole We collaborate with the team that will be responsible for the tasks

Our framework allows you, the business owner, to capture and explain the hundreds of processes that define your business to your team in a user-friendly easy to understand manner. Our 11 Steps to Better Systems provides the guidance to help you reduce stress from constantly repeating yourself, to improve efficiencies in your business, to enhance customer service, to increase your profit margins, and to allow you to remove yourself from the business.

However, creating these systems is something that most business owners will see as a challenge when they attempt to create user-friendly processes for their teams. These challenges include:

  • Learning how to extract the key information from those with the expertise and experience
  • Making sure that team members will use the processes, and hold themselves accountable, as they implement them – achieving true buy-in from the team
  • Knowing how to capture the many options that will always exist in real-world processes without losing the overall flow that promotes understanding
  • Making sure that all learning styles will be covered in these processes (eg. visual, auditory, read/write, and kinaesthetic)
  • Managing changes in the processes as they occur to maintain consistency
  • How to monitor and the time, cost and quality factors for all processes

… and many more.

When it comes to creating user-friendly processes for your team, there are many challenges that business owners face. Needless to say, there are far more nuances, tools, and strategies, as well as tips and tricks, that can help you get the best systems out of yours and your team’s head to achieve the best results.

But the real challenge is to get your team to actually use the processes and hold themselves accountable. Achieving true buy-in from your team is essential to ensure success. Capturing the many options that exist in real-world processes while maintaining the overall flow that promotes understanding can also be a challenge. In addition, it’s crucial to cover all learning styles, manage changes in the processes, and monitor the time, cost, and quality factors for all processes.

It can be a daunting task, but you don’t have to do it alone. At Brain in a Box, we’ve created the 11 Steps to Systemise Your Business to help you write systems that work. So to get even more tips and tricks, download our 11 Steps to Better Systems now.

Stop wearing yourself thin with repeated instructions to your team and start building the systems your business deserves. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you get your team’s buy-in, and make everyone happy to be part of this process (excuse the pun).

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