For any growing business, ensuring that you have the processes in place to “scale up” (as Verne Harnish would say) is very important. Here at Rhythm Systems, we focus heavily on coaching our clients to develop and implement Winning Moves to double revenue over the next 3-5 years. Those are balanced by Key Thrusts that ensure you have the infrastructure in place to support that growth. But, not all scalability improvements are large enough to warrant a spot on your 3-5 year plan. Sometimes, it is the series of small process tweaks made continuously over time that add up to the biggest benefit and save you the most time and resources.
A few quarters ago, our coaching team realized that some of our current processes would not be feasible to continue every quarter for every client as we grow. For example, our quarterly Client Progress Reports were lengthy and cumbersome for us to generate and difficult to consume for our clients. We assigned a small team to develop improvement ideas for this process. This team started a weekly rhythm of meeting and thinking about the purpose of the reports, getting insights from our clients about the value they perceived in these reports, and brainstorming ways to streamline this process. We started by writing an Objective Statement to clarify why we were creating the reports in the first place, and then we compiled the feedback we got from clients about what they liked and didn’t like. This team then developed a prototype for a new report and a new process that could potentially scale as we grew, shared it with the rest of the team for feedback, and began testing. Today our team is able to generate about 50% more reports in about half the amount of time.
Because the process that generated this new Progress Report created such a successful time saver for our team and added more value for our clients, we decided to continue this weekly rhythm of working on process improvements and select a few processes each quarter to tackle. This team works to document current best practices for our coaching team and brainstorm ways to improve aspects that are slowing us down. We call this new weekly rhythm our CANI meeting, which stands for Continuous And Never-ending Improvement. We have a core group of team members that meet weekly, and we bring in other team members when we need their expertise.
Each quarter, we identify a couple of CANI priorities for our team to focus on, and we record those in Rhythm so that we can set success criteria, track our progress weekly, and keep up with any Action Items we might assign. Since we are holding ourselves accountable to specific CANI priorities in Rhythm, we also have the opportunity to discuss any process improvements that we are stuck on with the full coaching team in our Weekly Adjustment Meetings. Sometimes, team members who aren't participating in the detailed weekly conversations have just the insight needed to get us moving in the right direction again.
As we are reaching for our BHAG and planning for our own scalability, implementing this CANI rhythm in our team is helping us determine how we are going to accomplish our long-term goals while still remaining true to our Core Values and providing the best possible service to our clients. We have discussions about what we can and cannot automate, and we pass along ideas about how software enhancements could increase our capacity as a coaching team to our research and development team.
Are you being proactive about process improvements to grow your business? As your business grows and changes, are you finding parts of your process that might be unnecessary or slowing you down? If you don’t already have someone in your organization thinking about the future and how to take steps now - on a regular basis - to get to your BHAG, consider appointing a CANI team in your organization and establishing a regular meeting rhythm to think about and work on process improvements. Let us know how it goes!