Removing Myself As The Single Point of Failure

I realised, a couple of years ago, as my little company grew a certain amount of structure, process and communication was important for it to survive.

Not too much. Not too little.  But just the right amount.

About 18 months ago I wrote an email to Derek, just saying hi and talking about my current status.  It was so great to have him respond.  He pointed me to the E-Myth Revisited book, which I read and loved (and I feel really should re-read it again).

As a result, what happened was a new sense of focus to free me up from the day to day of the business. I knew I could and should not have the responsibility for doing the day to day tasks of the business.  My mind was overloaded. There was too much going on. And I was increasingly doing a bad job of them all, whilst not enjoying it and feeling all the stress.

It’s not that I hadn’t been trying to get things off my plate, I had tried, but had depressingly failed on a number of occasions.  But at least then I felt a bit refreshed and had purpose in trying to make it work again.  I am really glad I tried again.

What is the right amount of ‘process’ is dependent on so many things.  Of course I like to see how others do things, but really we’ve been in search of what works for us as a team.  It’s not about documenting everything, but more focusing on having the company work without a single point of failure (me).

As a result of this, the kind of things we have been doing are:

  • Trello board with processes: set up a Trello board with a list of processes of how we do certain tasks, it’s far from perfect, but it has increasingly been helpful as our team grows.  We have processes for our writers, our TestBashes, our marketing efforts, etc.
  • Team Feedback and Input: my personal goal is to enable the team we have to make the right and best decisions possible. I will guide, input and feedback wherever possible, but I cannot go in any longer and do the actual work. I think also a big part of this is that our team knows where to go for help and they are encourage to ask for help.  Not everything is written down, but answers can be found if they know where to go.
  • Guides: we’ve created a few guides to help people we work with.  The writers guide and our handbook is a typical example. These are usually driven by pain and repeat questions. Our pain with writers was not getting good enough articles in, our guide has helped us define that and recruit writers to the quality we are after.  It was no small task creating a guide, but definitely worth the investment.
  • Task delegation: my 5th child was a great enforced test to see if things would work day to day without me.  The answer is yes, it does and will.  I am happy! But there is still work for me to do, right now I feel my work is about delegation and ensuring others have and know what they need to do their job.  I’m still on my ‘UnMaternity’ leave, which I’m loving btw, and need to write about it soon 🙂
  • Communication: We use Slack day in and day out for communication within our MoT team. I think what sets us apart a bit is that the Slack we use for day to day communication within our MoT Team is also a Slack which is open for anyone in the community to join.  It’s easy to dismiss the value of this, but for me it’s great that we are in touch with so many people and we keep on top of so many valuable conversations.  We have many private channels set up for all the things we are working on and it is so easy to invite the relevant people in ‘as and when’.

As part of this whole process is me finding my new sense of belonging. Finding my new place to fit in.  I’m still working on that, I suspect it will take some time to get there.  But that’s ok, I’m in no rush.

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