There are three stages in documenting your Way. First, identify your core processes. Then break down what happens in each one and document it.

Finally, compile the information into a single package for everyone in your company.


To start off, schedule an hour with your leadership team. This is not an assignment to delegate to one person. Take this initial step together so that you’re calling your core processes the same thing. Entrepreneurs tend to claim they already know what the processes are; I frequently get resistance on the need to call this meeting at all. Every time I suggest it, the reaction is, «Oh, we can do that in five minutes.» I’ve yet to see a team do it in less than an hour.

Here’s why.
Your leadership team needs to identify and agree on what to call your core processes. Once you start the discussion, you’re going to find you have different names for them and lack consensus on how many there are.
Your core processes typically include the following:
The HR process is the way you search, find, hire, orient, manage,
review, promote, retain, and fire people.
The marketing process is the way you get your message to your target audience and generate interest in what you do and prospects for your salespeople.
The sales process is the way you convert a prospect into a customer.
The operations processes are the way you make your product or provide your service to your customer.
There are typically one to three core processes within operations (e.g., project management, logistics, warehouse, distribution, service technicians, account management, service delivery, production, quality control, customer service). The accounting process is the flow and management of all monies coming in and going out.
The customer-retention process is the proactive way that you take care of your customers after your product or service has been delivered and the way you retain customers so that they continue to come back and send you referrals.
No matter how many core processes you have, you need to identify the ones that address every activity going on in the business. Then list them in one document and make sure that your leadership team is 100 percent on the same page with the amount, the names, and what they are.

The accountability Chart comes into play. The person that is accountable for a certain process takes charge of documenting it. The head of sales and marketing takes the sales process and the marketing process. The head of operations takes the one to three operations processes, and so on. The integrator usually owns the entire project, making sure everyone is clear and on track.

To avoid wasting time, make sure you’ve completed the first step of identifying your core processes before you start documenting. A single example will show why. One client skipped Step 1 and went ahead and documented all the procedures in the organization. When the client was done, it had 100 separate procedures documented on its intranet. This work was not a total waste, but once the client went back to Step 1 and agreed on its seven core processes, each of the 100 procedures suddenly took on meaning because it became a part of one of their seven core processes. The client found that the procedures were much better organized, and could be transferred to all of its 120 employees.

Still, it would have saved a lot of time and effort to identify the core processes first.

When documenting the processes, you should follow the 20/80 rule.

That means documenting the 20 percent that produces 80 percent of the results. In other words, document at a very high level. You should not be creating a 500-page document.

The 20/80 rule gives you the highest return on your time invested. The trap many organizations fall into is wasting valuable time trying to document 100 percent of everything. If you document 100 percent of a core process, it might take 30 pages.

If you document the most important 20 percent, you should need around six
pages. A similar common problem is trying to document every single little detail down to the nth degree. This is overkill. You just need to capture the basic steps in the process, because the real problem is that people are skipping steps, and not always on purpose. Festering problems then blow up weeks or months down the road. In the heat of the uproar, you treat the symptom and not the root cause, which was that someone skipped a step. There is always an uncomfortable laugh when I share this truth. You need to document the steps in the process at a very high level, with several bullets under each step, which are procedures. This way, you can make sure everyone is following the process.
What you’re illustrating are the basic guideposts to helping your people become consistent and efficient in your organization.

The following is an example of a documented process:


Step 1 : The Search
• Define role/job description/salary (the seat)
• Decide search medium
• Begin search
• E-mail 20 sphere/peers

Step 2 : Interviewing
• Screen résumés
• Initial interview/profiling tools
. Second interview
. Check references
• CEO interview/core values speech

Step 3 : Hiring
• Eight-hour on-the-job trial