Spring Cleaning for Workflows – Addition by Subtraction
“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
At a recent mastermind, Jason Abrams shared that more and more top teams are bogged down by bloated workflows. It’s tough enough to navigate this high-interest rate, low-inventory market, why are we letting our workflows make it even harder? Some workflows have more steps than the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Unless you’re playing the Rocky theme song while preparing your listing packet, 72 steps is overkill.
Springtime is for spring cleaning. So let’s go full Marie Kondo on your workflows. We’ve identified eight workflows across three areas of your business to explore.
Over the past few high-production years, your workflows have likely become complicated. For all the right reasons, you and the team that supports you have added lots of bells and whistles. A 2021 study in Nature shows how this happens. When stakeholders suggested ways to improve organizations, less than 10% recommended taking something away. When we improve things, we almost also add. No one can execute when processes get complicated. Like the BOLD Law says, “Success is simple, not easy.” Simple, memorable workflows get done, get repeated, and deliver results.
Identify the workflows you’d like to focus on and follow these six steps to streamline your systems.
- Evaluate – Identify WHAT the process is for and the expected outcome. Ask WHO is supposed to do it. Is it clear HOW it’s supposed to be done and WHEN it must happen? If you can’t for all the commissions in New Jersey understand WHY this workflow exists, proceed post haste to step two.
- Eliminate – One of the great things about people who flourish in admin roles is their reliability. If you ask them to send the “Just Sold” postcards on the first Friday of the month, that’s when it will happen every first Friday going forward. The downside is that they may not stop doing that activity unless explicitly given permission to stop.
KW President Marc King likes to ask, “If we stopped doing this, would anyone complain?” If the answer is “No,” eliminate the workflow.
- Uncomplicate – Okay, “uncomplicate” isn’t technically a word but “streamline” doesn’t rhyme with the other steps… If a workflow can’t be eliminated, it most certainly can be simplified. Ask how it could be done in half the time or with half the effort. Is there a lot of baton-passing between parties that could be consolidated? For example, if you are inspecting the work at multiple steps along the way, can you do one inspection at the end to reduce the back-and-forth?
- Automate – With tools like Zappier and Shortcuts, a small investment upfront can automate a lot of work in the future. Can your client intake form be created in a Google Form and then automatically added to your database or lead pipeline? The answer is almost certainly yes.
- Delegate – Is there a service provider that could own a big complicated chunk of the workflow? For new and solo agents, investing in a contract-to-close service saves tons of time (and migraines) for a relatively small investment. Vendors can put signs in yards, nurture your web leads, photograph and stage your listings, handle your bookkeeping, etc. These services aren’t free but they free you up. And you can invest saved time in more dollar-productive activities like lead generation!
- Communicate – This last step may be the most important. Once you’ve eliminated, uncomplicated, automated, and delegated, make sure you clearly communicate these changes to your team. Update the operations manual which will now be slim, trim, and ready for swimsuit season!
Now stand back and revel in your work. Spring cleaning isn’t necessarily fun, but it can be very fulfilling. By subtracting everything that was unnecessary, you’ve actually added to your value proposition. You and your team can execute faster and deliver consistently. Summer is when the most homes are bought and sold. Your business is ready for earnings season.
Finally, mark your calendars for next year so you can do it again.
One question to ponder in your thinking time: “Where can I streamline and improve my bottom line?”
Make an Impact!
Co-author of The One Thing & The Millionaire Real Estate Agent
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