I love this time of year, honestly. There must be something in the lead-in to the end-of-year shutdown that rings my bells. It’s a great time to get things done, and a fabulous time to go out and spend time with people. Summer holidays are literally a week away.
Pixie-side, we’ve gotten through our restructures and changes, and we’ve developed and are riding the wave of a product that people love.
But the thing that I am personally most excited by right now is the simplification of our business systems.
Over the past five years, I’ve documented a lot of what the Pixies do. The challenge of systems is that they have to be built inside a living methodology. Otherwise, they age: You gradually find better, simpler, more effective ways of doing what you do, and the systems need to adapt.
In reworking our systems, I’m going right back to basics, with checklists. There are so many ways to document what you do - from videos to wikis - but checklists can sit in a single folder in any system online or offline.
The thing that is really fun about this, is that I’ve adapted my own working day structure for the coming year. Checklists for all five components of the business - value creation, value delivery, marketing, sales, finance - remove the cognitive load involved in making sure that everything gets done. If you ‘zoom out’ from the business side of things, the productivity these checklists yield make running the business a much less stressful affair. One of the down-stream effects is then that you have a much greater ability to relax when not at work, simply because you’ve already captured everything that has to be done.
The benefits Pixie-side include a reduction in SaaS costs, by streamlining how we keep the system documentation.
One of the lessons that I’ve learned as a founder is that loads of people will try to get you to do things in loads of different ways. I’ve spent ridiculous amounts of time documenting things, recording things, capturing things. I’ve recorded videos. I’ve developed wikis. I’ve captured audio.
Seriously, nothing beats a checklist! Checklists aren’t workflow maps, but they are your essential first step.
(And honestly, I can’t wait to see how this changes the game for us.)
Thanks for joining me for the the first half-year of our next five years. It’s been a dark and introspective kind of six months, but I’m out the other side of it and things are pretty awesome as a result.
The next edition will come out on 30 December 2018. Until then, may your Christmas (if you do Christmas) be safe and happy. :)