• Business as Algorithm

    An algorithm is a methodical set of steps that produces a predictable result. That’s what you want your business to be, because a business that runs smoothly and predictably will make your life easier.

    While life, people and business can be unpredictable, you can design most of that out of your business with the right algorithms. Your business can be set up to take most of the unpredictability out by designing your algorithm/business to respond predictably to events. Most events are predictable, even if they are unforeseen. We don’t spend enough time thinking through the possibilities.

    Some people think of fast food restaurants when they think of predictability (and not in a good way). They want to offer a more personalized service. Reframe it this way, the more predictable you make most of your business, the more ability you have to offer a higher quality service where it can have the most impact..

    Predictable may sound boring to you, but your customers and your team want to know what they are getting and what to expect when they come to you.

    Your business can be a series of logical steps that you, your customers and your team take to reach the outcome you each desire. The clearer you are on what outcomes you want to achieve for each of these people, the easier it is for you to design these algorithms. String enough algorithms together and you create journeys that attract the right people, engage them in your business and make them feel served and delighted.

    That is the way business should be.

    An algorithm can be as simple as a checklist outlining the steps you take to complete a task. It can include if/then statements. For instance, IF the customer in front of you in your store is from out of town, THEN you offer a shipping home option and here are the steps you follow to make that happen. IF your customer stalls on the work you are doing together because she gets stuck on a piece of technology, THEN you offer her a mini course on that technology, or a VIP day to get her past her snafu.

    Let’s look at an example. Your team journey can be made up of these algorithms:

    1. Attract the best: Tell the stories of your best team members
    2. Engage:
      1. Have a Join my team link on your website
      2. Ongoing growth plan – skills assessment and inventory
      3. Interview process
      4. Onboarding process
    3. Serve and Delight
      1. Project management
      2. Individual team member check ins

    Each of those algorithms takes a series of steps that can include processes, forms, checklists and may include if/then statements that stream people or information to the appropriate place.

    Most of that work can be done once and reused every time you need someone to take the Team journey. For instance, the Join My Team link would be a package they could download or forms they can fill in so you know what skills they have. You may include a step that starts the process of checking in with values, attitudes and worldviews. The interview algorithm and the onboarding algorithm are both pretty standard algorithms you can set up.

    Some of those algorithms  such as the ongoing growth plan – skills assessment and inventory will be a process that is followed regularly and the outcome will be added to this journey. As you identify skills you need to add to your business, you trigger certain algorithms in the team journey such as checking to see who has completed the Join My Team algorithm with the necessary skills.

    You can have a business that grows steadily and predictably with team members who know what they are doing and how they fit in. Or you can have a business with high turnover, lots of drama, and skills gaps that make everyone struggle to meet outcomes. It all comes down to algorithms.

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