processes

My three words for 2012 (preview)

by Jason on December 15, 2011 · 0 comments

Wordle of this site

I’ve been working with Chris Brogan‘s idea about three words that define what I want my upcoming year to be about (you can see his for 2011, 2010, and if you follow the links in those pages, back much further than that.)

Basically, you pick the three words that you’ll be building around for the year, and most of your work, ideally, will be congruent with one or more of them.  It’s an alternative to goals, as I see it, and instead can become something closer to a magic spell (hey, words, right?) – at least, that’s the theory; I haven’t made a word list before.

I don’t know that I’ll share my words publicly when I do come up with them, so don’t expect me to reveal them in this post, but I wanted to take the opportunity to mention the concept and process before the year’s out so you have some time to give it some serious thought before choosing to participate.  We’re talking about words that will shape an entire year here, so they’re not the kind of thing you should decide on New Year’s Eve while drinking.

I will discuss the process I’m using a little though.  I won’t sugar coat it; this year, my first as a full time business owner, hasn’t been easy.  One of the reasons I’m working on this now (besides the aforementioned part about it being important) is that I want to give time to for the words, and the initial plans that form from them, to sink in a bit, and so I can have a chance to decide if I’ve picked them to run towards something positive or away from some of the harder lessons from this year.

Because that’s the thing: we do pretty much everything to either get pleasure or eliminate pain, and there’s going to be pain in running a business.  The challenge, to me, is to endure the short term pain in pursuit of the pleasure that’ll make it worth it.  It’s vital to make sure my words are going to move me in the right direction at a good clip without involving fleeing in terror.

The post-game systems ritual

by Jason on December 1, 2011 · 0 comments

Gears by Pete Birkinshaw

I’ve been thinking a lot about systems lately, and how I can create them in a way that takes the “me” out of the equation in my business. Part of this is because I’ve been meaning to re-read The E-Myth, and the other part is an increasing awareness that I have so few hours in any given day (24? Is that all?)

It’s a funny twist: the adjectives applied to you that make you a success in building a business are the exact opposite of the ones that you seek out in an employment situation: redundant, dispensable, replaceable.  If you have a job, and this is where you ended up, you’re due to get fired.  If you have a business, it’s time for an amazing vacation.

So systems.  The more reproducible processes you can create, and by that I mean reproducible by someone else, consistently, with the same outcome, the less you have to do.  At first, you’ll be the implementor, but these are the things you delegate and monitor over time (and as I think I mentioned earlier, the monitoring is systemizable and delegatable, spellcheck forgive me.)

I keep a log of everything I do in a day, so I’ve developed my new post-game ritual, which is a series of questions:

  • How much of the day’s activities are likely to happen again?
  • How much of the day’s activities required my personal unique skill set?
  • For the things that had to be done by me, could that be changed?
  • And more importantly, were they even necessary?

I end up with a grouping of the day’s schedule, but with a particular focus, and it’s one that, I hope, will identify trends over time.  I hired my first designer after a similar exercise earlier in the year when I realized I was spending 10 hours a week in Photoshop, which is an application I have no business using, frankly.  In that case, it was the replacement of a technical skill with a skilled person.

With this new ritual, I’m looking to replace processes with people.

Photo by BinaryApe