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Default to Action & Overcome the Toolbox Fallacy

toolbox-fallacy

“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week.” – George Patton

“Once I have X, I can do Y.”

This phrase is the defining characteristic of the toolbox fallacy: thinking you can’t do something until you have the right tool.

The toolbox fallacy is self-deception disguised as excuses or a lack of “tools”. The issue with these tools is that you believe that you need them and thus, can’t (or won’t) start a project without them.

“As soon as my Apple Watch arrives, I’ll start training for the 5K.”

The problem is when X arrives, do you crack on and get started with the Y? Often times, it’s too easy to continue down the slippery slope of toolbox logic.

“My Apple Watch arrived, but now I need a coaching app – which I am yet to have downloaded.”

So, how do you overcome the toolbox fallacy? Simple: You default to action. In other words, you get the ball rolling – whether you have all the tools you think you need or not.

The solution, in a sense, is to be more agile.

In this post I’ll be looking at how to overcome the toolbox fallacy by putting the systems in place to move fast, and with virtue. I’ll try to address:

  • How do you plan and structure clear action items, so you can move fast and be sure you’re making the right decisions?
  • How will you move fast without breaking things (by things I mean humans)?

And, to sum things up I’ll take a look at how we at Process Street use OKRs to decide when it is we should be moving fast vs when we should be slowing down.

To jump to a specific section click the appropriate links below:

Let’s start by unpacking the toolbox fallacy in more depth! 🛠
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An HR Leader’s Playbook for Running an Effective Retained Search

retained searchYou are an HR leader at an executive search firm and you have landed a big client, who has agreed to kick-off a retained search with your company. What’s your next move?

Who am I to know anything about executive retained search? Well, I am an ex-associate from one of the top executive recruiting firms in the industry. In an article from the Economist about corporate headhunters, it was said that:

Nobody has ever studied to become a headhunter but the profession is becoming more diverse. Those serving in its ranks include ex-engineers, a former Olympic gymnast…”

– and me, a former visual artist and administrative assistant. Working in executive search, I developed a deep understanding of how each role on the search team can greatly influence the quality and success of the retained search.

The executive search business has been operating since the first World War, through the 1940s. According to AESC (The Association of Executive Recruiting Consultants), it’s likely that Thorndike Deland formed the concept of executive search back in 1926 when he founded the first retained executive recruiting firm.

Meaning, the executive retained search industry has been evolving for over 90 years and will continue to evolve with the digital revolution. Although, there are elements of the retained search business that will remain constant, like the drive to deliver the highest quality service.

I believe it’s crucial for everyone on the executive retained search team to understand how they fit together within the retained search process. However, to impact the performance of your retained search, you have to work on the system. 94% of problems and opportunities for improvement belong to the system, not the individual.

In this post, you’ll learn the difference between a retained search and a contingent search, how to optimize the retained search process (based on my personal experience and reports backed up by leading firms in the industry), and how to maximize the efficiency of your process, especially in the era of remote work (using digital tools like Process Street).

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The Ultimate List of 45 Business Process Improvement Tools (Lean Six Sigma & Beyond)

process improvement tools

Processes underpin business capabilities, and capabilities underpin strategy execution.” – Pearl Zhu, Digital Capability: Building Legal Like Capability Into Business Competency

A 2018 survey by BPTrends found that 93% of the organizations studied engaged in multiple process improvement projects.

This is because business processes are the life-blood of your organization. Process improvements, therefore, prime your organization to run like a well-oiled machine, bettering your chances of business success.

On that note, in this Process Street article, we take a look at our top 45 process improvement tools. Using these tools will improve customer satisfaction, save you money, strengthen customer retention, and boost project success rate (+ more).

Click on the relevant subheader to jump to your section of choice, alternatively scroll down to read all we have to say.

For clarity, I’ve split each tool as per the following subheaders – click to jump to the unique tool category.

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How to Reduce Customer Attrition During a Crisis

How to Reduce Customer Attrition During a Crisis

This is a guest post by Brayn Wills, the current Knowledge Management Specialist at ProProfs knowledge base. He is responsible for creating unique and relevant content on the knowledge base and keeping track of the latest developments in the realm of knowledge management. In his free time, he is either reading a new book or exploring offbeat destinations.

When a crisis strikes, it brings along daunting challenges that require businesses to reevaluate their strategies. One such significant challenge is customer churn. It can impact a business drastically if left unchecked.

Statistics show that, on average, most companies experience a monthly churn rate of 7.5%. If left unchecked, this can be catastrophic for a company’s bottom line.

A rapidly shrinking customer base means reduced profits that can have a severe impact on an organization, especially during a crisis. What’s more, crisis situations tend to exacerbate the root causes of churn, meaning businesses need to be extra responsive and attentive to their customers during these times.

While you cannot prevent all customers from leaving your company, you certainly can take concrete steps to keep customer churn in control.

In this post for Process Street, I will cover:

Read on to uncover the pragmatic ways to reduce customer churn during a crisis by understanding and providing value to your customers.
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The 4 Netflix HR Practices That Took Us From Average to Awesome

HR Practices

Netflix doesn’t do bonuses. They don’t do formal reviews and they don’t do staff training.

Instead, their HR practices involve heavily scrutinizing employees’ skills and capabilities, and ruthlessly firing them for being good, not great.

Netflix and chill” it is not.

But, despite these seemingly harsh HR practices, 71% of Netflix employees would encourage their friends to become co-workers. They’re officially the best place in the world to work (even beating the likes of Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple). Their employee turnover is only 11% a year, which is below the 13% annual average for tech companies. They’ve maintained a voluntary attrition rate of 3-4% over the last two years, and they make around $2 million per employee.

Netflix has not only captivated the attention of its customers around the world, but also continues to grow its reputation as an attractive, sought-after employer.” – Forbes, Incubating Culture: How Netflix Is Winning The War For Talent

So, why is Netflix the best place to work, how do they maintain such a productive workforce, and what lessons can we take from them?

Grab some popcorn and let’s find as we go through the following in this Process Street post:

Settle in for the story of the year (that you can’t stream)… 🍿

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Conquer Process Improvement With These 9 Lean Six Sigma Tools

Conquer Process Improvement With These 9 Lean Six Sigma Tools

“Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.”Peter Drucker

Lean management, Six Sigma, and lean Six Sigma all walk into a bar. Lean management orders a Scotch. Six Sigma orders bourbon. Then lean Six Sigma orders a hot toddy. The bartender says, “So that’ll be a whisky, a whiskey, and a bit of both.”

Are you seriously writing another post about lean Six Sigma?

Yes. Yes, I am.

While you’d be forgiven for thinking that these methodologies are all essentially the same, it is important to remember that they are, indeed, separate. The principle of lean Six Sigma is simple: it combines the waste reduction and workflow efficiency of lean manufacturing with the defect-elimination process of Six Sigma.

To break it down:

  • Lean: A method to reduce or eliminate any activity that doesn’t add value to a process (read more)
  • Six Sigma: A system to create a defect-free process (read more)
  • Lean Six Sigma: The best of both worlds used to eliminate process waste and variation (read more)

Some may say Six Sigma is outdated, or just another example of “business bullshit,” Process Street keeps lauding the benefits for one simple reason: lean Six Sigma works.

From Motorola to Amazon, Fortune 500s have been incorporating Six Sigma practices since the mid-80s. In the early 2000s, Dell, Inc. did the same and by 2004 had saved the company $1.5 billion in costs. In 2020, Dell Technologies reported total revenue of $92 billion and as well as the increasing popularity of their systems.

In this post, I’ll break down Lean Six Sigma into the five corresponding DMAIC process categories, and provide the most relevant tools for each stage. Feel free to jump ahead:

Otherwise, dear reader, let’s begin!
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Build a Product That Sells Itself With Product-Led Growth

product-led-growth

“History tells us that “how” you sell is just as important as “what” you sell.”Wes Bush, The Definitive Guide On Product-Led Growth.

Slack’s revenue has grown 52 x since its launch in 2014: The channel-based messaging platform reported that revenue went from $12 million in 2014 to $630 million in 2020.

Their secret? …. Product-led growth.

Product-led growth (PLG), otherwise known as the “try before you buy” approach has helped companies like Dropbox, Netflix, Hubspot, and of course Slack go from Startup to scale up in record time.

But, the product-led growth approach isn’t just about trying before buying. There’s more to it than that. In fact, to truly be product-led you’ll need to choose between a free trial or freemium model; determine if you’ll be targeting the makers or the shakers of an organization; decide which sea you wish to sail when following the Blue Ocean Strategy; and, choose whether your strategy wants to focus on the bottom-up or the top-down.

Feeling confused? Don’t worry, this post will help clear things up. I’ll go over what product-led growth actually is and help you decide if the approach is right for you. I’ll also take a look at Slack and Hubspot, the poster children of the PLG approach to show what it looks like in practice.

To jump to a specific section click on the appropriate link below.

Let’s get sailing…
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10 Ways to Instantly Improve Employee Development

employee development

This is a guest post by Laura Garber. Laura, also known as the Career Coaching Expert, works with CraftResumes and helps individuals with their resume writing.

What’s the hallmark of a successful business?

Well, from a consumer standpoint, it’s exceptional customer service. Understandably, customers have always aligned themselves with brands that value customer service.

A big part of a company’s success, therefore, can be attributed to its employees. Companies that invest in employee development and train their employees to deliver first-class customer service are likely to:

  • Gain a competitive advantage;
  • Attract and retain the best talent in the industry;
  • Realize a 24% increase in their profit margins.

Obviously, training and developing your employees gives them the necessary tools to do their jobs, but there’s a lot more to it than that.

This Process Street post will explain it all, by answering the following questions:

Ready to start training and developing your employees?
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Reach the Right People & Get the Right Result With a Customer Profile

customer profile

We’ve never met, but I know who you are.

You spend 90% of your day either in meetings or answering emails, so you’re incredibly short on time.

You’re a big believer in “moving fast and breaking things” but over-regulation, cyber threats, obsoletion, and the availability of key skills keeps you awake at night.

You check in with Twitter and Reddit daily to stay in-the-loop, and you’re a keen consumer of content that’s quick and easy to digest, from reputable sources, and provides clear answers to your questions. You hate waffle!

Am I close?!

Whether I’m right or wrong (and before this gets any creepier), I know all this because I’ve created your customer profile, or buyer persona if you prefer.

Organizations that use customer profiles to create and deliver content enjoy 73% higher conversions than those that don’t. So, I used market research and data to build up a semi-fictional representation of you.

I identified your common behavior patterns, discovered what your key motivations were, and established your biggest pain points so I could write a tailored post that clearly answers your questions, provides value, and delivers useful insights.

I won’t lie; this took a lot of time!

But was it worth it?

Take 10 minutes to read this Process Street post and get insights from the likes of Hiten Shah, Lincoln Murphy, and Tomasz Tunguz, learn how to create a customer profile in five simple steps, and find out:

Let’s “cut fast, cut deep”, and cut the crap.
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5 Human Resources Best Practices We Learned From GitLab

hr manager

Human resource departments get a bad rap.

While those in leadership roles predominantly feel that HR has strategic value, a majority of on-the-ground employees feel much differently.

HR Manager Concepts: Value of HR
(Source)

The question is: Why? What can you, as your company’s HR manager, do to correct this?

Here at Process Street, we know a thing or two about HR best practices – and have a wealth of pre-made templates to boot. There’s always room for improvement, though, so lately, we’ve been doing some deep dives into GitLab’s handbook (like my post on how GitLab totally rocks their marketing strategy).

GitLab is unique in a number of ways – most significantly, their willingness to share internal tactics. This post is going to look at five essential concepts every HR manager needs to keep in mind based on GitLab’s own tried and tested processes.

Ready to manage some humans?
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