In this post, I’ll discuss how to break down desired results into repeatable processes that are easy to manage and possible to train others to do. This exercises starts with identifying the desired results. Remember the acronym, S.M.A.R.T. when it comes to picking your desired results (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-boxed). In a previous article, I discussed the importance of defining your capabilities. You must figure out which capabilities are required to achieve your goals. Capabilities help do two things:
1) Identify and Prioritize the tasks to be done (experience powers ability to identify tasks with the most impact).
2) Develop skills and efficiency in completing tasks (which improves productivity).
So, I will use a basic example… Let’s say you want to drive SEO traffic to your site for the keyword phrase hip hop beats. You’ve defined your desired result: top 20 rankings in the SERPs (search engine results pages) within 60 days. Now, we work backwards. You have a general sense that the general skill/capability is SEO knowledge.
After doing some research, you find there are two ways to optimize: (a) onsite, and (b) offsite. Your research tells you that offsite has a much larger impact, but your intuition tells you that the onsite optimization is much more in your control. You make a list of the tasks you think need to be completed for each. You notice that some tasks are repeating themselves. For example, for each page of your site, you have to write unique title and meta description tags. Aha! You’ve identified a process, that you can map out, explain, and teach someone else to do. But writing unique title and meta description tags alone are only part of the process. You realize you have a CMS, and you can grant access to your employee so that they can implement them as well.
You end up with some little instructional guide that someone can follow to help them do their job effectively. It might look like this (abbreviated for this example):
1. Search google for keyword phrase and review top 5 results titles and descriptions.
2. Write a compelling title and description incorporating the keyword phrase.
3. Login to the CMS with your user/pass.
4. Edit the Title and Meta Description fields appropriately, and click Publish.
This is an example of a small process, which is part of the bigger, much more complex process of SEO. It enables managers to leverage resources who are not expert in SEO to get results by having very clear instructions.
Now, for your exercise:
1) Pick a goal.
2) Figure out the required skills to achieve it.
3) List all tasks.
4) Identify the processes and create a training guide for each.
In a future article, I’ll talk about managing for success using the agile Scrum methodology.