Before the new year began, I set two main priorities for my company in 2015: creating capacity and refining processes. I saw these as distinct and linear.
To maintain focus on these priorities, I’ve been asking my team to consider two questions.
How can we create capacity, for ourselves and for the company as a whole?
Nearly every week, as I communicate with my team, I’ve asked this question in various ways. How will you create more capacity this week? What can we do to expand the capacity on our PR team? What can you delegate to create more capacity for yourself?
The main answer here has been adding to the team. We create capacity on our project management team by hiring additional project managers. I create capacity for myself by hiring a new in-person assistant to help me day to day, so I can off-load tasks in order to free myself up to spend time on more high leverage activities.
My new assistant, Jessica, picked up on this theme quickly, leaving me notes about organizing my often-messy desk to create capacity for me — literally, space on my desk and in my mind. Clearing out clutter creates capacity.
In the first quarter of 2015, we’ve hired 5 new subcontractors. One failed fast, so we’ve added 4 team members and on-boarding them effectively will certainly expand our capacity. Additionally, our lead web developer is working with a few new subcontractors so he can create additional capacity for himself.
How can we refine our current processes to serve our clients more effectively?
We’ve worked on a few key service areas so far this year, especially our delivery of public relations services. We also refined some of our internal processes, especially our hiring and sales process. We have a long list of other refinements we’d like to tackle — and we’ve had to back-burner some of them because we lack the capacity currently to address them.
But what if we could tackle both of these key initiatives with one set of activities? What if we can create capacity by refining processes?
When we refine our on-boarding process, establishing predictable, repeatable steps for helping a person learn our ways of working, we will have confidence that we are setting people up for success. This will create mental capacity — we don’t have to think about how and what training to provide and when — and actual capacity because any training materials (videos, recordings of screen share presentations, written materials) can be more self-service.
If we infuse our new on-boarding system with some automation and tools, we will free ourselves to connect more powerfully and meaningfully with the new subcontractors on our virtual team.
I’m excited by the possibilities of seeing how our two main initiatives this year can intersect and powerful progress we can make when we find ways to address both goals at once.
As we move into the 2nd quarter of the year, my new mantra/question will be: “How can we create capacity by refining processes?”