October 5, 2023
What can’t (or shouldn’t) be automated in your business, is a manual process that must be systemized, or growth will not be possible.
I’m often diving into discussions about accountabilities, and today, I'm pulling back the curtain to reveal the exact 5-step process I follow to systemize ongoing, manual processes for my clients and their businesses — What I refer to as accountabilities.
Step One: Projects Vs. Accountabilities
First things first, I make sure to break down (to all team members) the concept that everything happening in the business can be categorized as either a project or an accountability. If you’re a regular here, you’ve heard me talk about this before. It’s essentially the distinction between working IN the business and working ON the business.
If you’d like to learn more about the differences between projects and accountabilities, Click Here.
Step Two: Brain Dumps
Next, I ask all team members to engage in a brain dump, noting everything they perceive as a responsibility, while also grouping them as daily, weekly, or monthly duties. This isn’t about perfection; bullets, rough notes, and varied formats are all welcome. This exercise often reveals tasks that were hidden or forgotten, bringing them to light for both team members and founders.
Step Three: Simplify & Eliminate
The third step involves reviewing each team member’s brain dump, aiding them in clarifying and simplifying their entries, and ensuring their lists focus on accountabilities and not projects (these are important too, but we must optimize what happens IN the business, first).
Step Four: Accountability System
With cleaner, more concise versions of the initial brain dumps in hand, I enter them into the accountability system — A database used to store and manage accountabilities (I like Airtable, but you can use whatever platform you prefer). Within this database, each accountability is further simplified and clarified with the help of four key questions:
- What is it?
- Who owns it?
- How often does it need completion?
- What defines its success/completion?
Step Five: Automating Accountability
The final piece of the puzzle is automating accountability. This involves creating a simple form for team members to submit their accountabilities, as frequently as each accountability dictates. The form only includes three entries:
- Choose the accountability
- Upload confirmation (often a screenshot) of the completed task
- Add a note about what was done (only necessary when a confirmation upload isn’t required)
In instances where an accountability hasn’t been completed when/how it should, an alert nudges the accountability owner and direct reports (often the business owner). It’s not about blame but guiding attention. As businesses scale, things break. This approach ensures managers and founders direct their attention where it’s needed most, usually signaling an overwhelmed team member.
If you’d like a copy of my Airtable system template, Click Here.
Once all accountabilities are clarified and entered into the system, delegating them becomes significantly easier since every process has been distilled into its simplest form. And the more you can delegate as a founder, the more time you will have to focus on growth.
The next step is to carefully define your projects. To check out my simple project template, Click Here.
Go ahead and try it:
- Do a brain dump of all existing accountabilities
- For each one, answer the 4 questions
- Upload them into a shared database
- Create a simple submission form
See you all next Thursday 👋
PS. Whenever you're ready... Here are three ways I can help you systemize & automate operations:
- Learn how to find, hire, and manage virtual assistants → Free Access
- Systemize company processes & automate accountability → Learn More
- Let me help you automate operations and exit the day-to-day grind → Work With Me
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