Many years ago, when I was on the management team at Whistler Mountain, I was permitted to ski during my work day as long as the work was done. I was a supervisor in the data processing department and my boss didn’t think the work was ever done, so I didn’t get to ski. My boss liked to keep information to herself and she was always busy. I believe it was because she thought she would be indispensable, which of course, is an illusion.
Things were about to change dramatically the second year when she announced her pregnancy. She was forced to share her knowledge and prepare me to take over while she’d be off for 6 months. Training started slowly but then, as a result of complications with her pregnancy, my training became a crash course – and then she was gone for about a year.
… and so on.
During that time, I took the opportunity to implement something I’d learned as a manager at McDonald’s Restaurants – I created a training manual with each and every task we were responsible for doing. The manual was a piece of work! It outlined with absolute detail step by step what to do. Each line started with a verb and explained one activity to do. If there was a “caution” to be aware of, it was outlined right there and then.
The manual was so thorough that when I needed to bring in others to help with time sensitive projects (e.g. seasons passes or yearly tax reports), they could pick up the manual and get to work without any need for training from me.
The manual was also the reason why I skied for a few hours almost every day that season. You see, my team knew exactly what to do, what to watch out for and how to fix problems – without me. I had delegated away my job – and I loved it! Needless to say, my boss was not a happy camper when she came back and I left shortly thereafter. If she hadn’t come back though, I would have had the ammunition to request a raise because I had created efficiencies within the department. I would also have had more money in addition to the play time I’d created.
When I created my business in 1996, I took the same approach. In order to maintain consistency for the customer experience, while minimizing errors and unproductive time, each and every task was documented and updated as we evolved. As part of the onboarding process, new employees were given the manual and taught how to use it. They were instructed to update it if it was unclear – as long as they followed the same format. As part of our culture we continuously looked for ways to do things better and to wow our customers, so the manual was always being updated. Again, it was a piece of work, however, this time it looked a whole lot better too because we were able to capture screen shots with highlights and captions too, which was better for those who learn visually.
The second part of making money while I played – and slept – was a result of the business model I chose. I firmly believe in the “make it once, sell it multiple times” mindset, so I had commissioned software to be developed to streamline administration of incentive and loyalty programs. After the software was built, we were able to sell it over and over again.
Because of the systemization and the “make money while I played” model, I was able to go on multiple vacations each year with my family and still make money. I suspect I actually made more money as I wasn’t there to “interrupt” my team! The highlight of my approach was when I spent a month in Europe with my husband, daughters and Mother-in-law. I would check in every couple of days to get an update and answer any questions and I would login to the software to spot-check work and check to see how much we’d made.
Although I no longer use my software, I still use the make-money-while-you-play model combined with systemization. I write books, create courses, devise formulas (the F.O.R.C.E. Formula™ for reinventing business is one of them), produce events — including my Reinvention Show— and I speak on stage and as a guest on podcasts and other shows. With systemized processes, I can outsource the parts that don’t require me. And to be honest, when I have systemized everything there will be no need for me to do anything except for create, lead, mentor, teach and play.
The keys for you to work less, play more and make more money are simple:
- With your customers in mind, review every process, procedure and task to ensure that it contributes to a positive customer experience while also contributing to your profit.
- Adjust any policies, processes and procedures that are not producing a positive customer experience while also being profitable
- Review your business for passive income opportunities
- Review your business for recurring revenue opportunities
- Now systemize everything – outlining which elements of a process or procedure must be done each and every time and which elements are open to employee discretion within predefined parameters.
- For example, non-negotiable elements will include safety, security and handling of confidential and proprietary information. Other non-negotiable elements will be based on standard operating procedures to ensure consistency in your customers’ experiences with your organization. Discretion may be based on how to handle complaints or requests. My team was encouraged to look for ways to “wow” a customer, so if, for example, a reward was backordered from our regular vendors, they were allowed to go to alternate vendors.
How do you make money while you play?
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