The 3-Step Process To Cleaning Out Your Operations Closet
Shaun: Hey everyone, Shaun here. Before we kick off the show, a quick special announcement for listeners to the Operations podcast. Hypergrowth London for 2020 is already around the corner, believe it or not. We are super excited to be returning to London for the second year in a row. There will be an amazing lineup. May 6th in London will be the kickoff to Hypergrowth of the 2020. And of course, I wanted to put something special together for the people who listened to the Operations podcast. So, if you listen to this show and you want to go to Hypergrowth London on May 6th, you can use the promo code ops, O- P- S, to get a discounted ticket. The discount ticket is only 59 pounds. I don't know what the translation is of that is for dollars, just bear with me. 59 pounds. The general admission normally is 499 pounds. So, use the promo code ops, O- P- S to get your tickets, enjoy Hypergrowth. Now, on with the show.( singing) When you were a kid, when your parents asked you to go clean your room, were you one of those kids who just stuffed everything inside the closet and closed the door and then just marveled at how clean the room looked? It's okay if you were, it's nothing wrong with that. But, as everybody knows, hiding a mess inside the closet or under the rug, doesn't make the mess go away. You open the door the next day and an avalanche of all your stuff comes sprawling out, right? Not good. Today, I'm here to tell you, that if you're an operator inside of a hypergrowth company, you are scrambling to keep your metaphorical room clean every single day. And let's face it, sometimes it's cleaner than other times. Sometimes it's spotless and other times you're just scrambling to keep the closet door from busting back open with everything that's inside it. Sometimes you just plain forgot about that thing that you threw in the back of the closet six months ago. So, today we're cleaning out the closet, together. More than that, we're actually going to shine a spotlight on everything that's been hiding inside. Welcome to Operations, the show where we look under the hood of companies in hyper- growth. My name is Shawn Lane. Regular listeners to the show know that every once in a while, in addition to bringing you some of the smartest operators from other hypergrowth companies, we will switch gears every once in a while and bring you a lesson from inside of Drift itself. And today is one of those days. As you scale out an operations team and as you scale an organization as a whole, you are always going to be building new systems, right? You build new systems on top of one another. You have new workflows that get introduced. You capture leads in a different way. You have different go to markets. You add tools to your tech stack, right? The list is endless. Here's the harsh reality. No matter how great of a planner you are. No matter how much testing you do in a sandbox or how many corners you look to try and anticipate where things can go wrong, things are going to go wrong and things are going to break. And I can't pretend to know every unique way things can break inside of your organization, but you probably can. And I can tell you very honestly and very transparently, that things have broken in mine. And so, in this episode, I'm going to reveal the antidote to these potential points of failure; a closet organizer of sorts. And I'm going to give you a simple three- step process for how to implement it, so that when things break and trust me, if you're working inside of a fast- growing hypergrowth company, it's important to acknowledge and accept the fact that things are going to break. When those things do break, you're not going to be caught off guard or worse, you're not going to notice them at all. That's even worse. So, let's get to it. The magic closet organizer that I'm talking about, the thing that's going to help you avoid these potential points of failure, is something at Drift we affectionately refer to as the danger dash. Yes, the danger dash. And here's how it works. Every single morning when I get to work, there's an email waiting for me with the danger dash inside of it. Put simply, it's a bunch of reports inside of a dashboard that monitor all the different places that a system, a lead capture, a tool, a workflow, could break. And the most beautiful site any ops person on our team could see in the morning, is an empty danger dash, but that dashboard doesn't just show up at my email magically and it certainly isn't empty due to sheer luck, so what we're going to do on the episode is figure out what the hell this danger dash is and I'm going to take you through the three- step process for how you can put together a danger dash of your own. Ready? Let's start with step number one: identify your break points. The whole point of the danger dash is to look inside your process and look for those points of failure or potential points of failure. The easiest way to do this is to follow your customer journey and look at all the different hand- off points that you might have. Those could be hand- off points between humans. They could be hand- off points between systems where different tools talk to one another, but ultimately follow one of those processes. A good example might be from inside of your go to market. How do leads get captured? Do you have a form on a landing page and you capture those things through a tool like Marketo? Or, do you use a tool like Drift, where someone might give their email inside of a widget or a chat bot? What happens next to that lead? Okay, let's follow it along. How does that information get captured inside of your CRM? How do you know where it came from? What was the source? What stamps that information? And then ultimately, what makes it to your sales team? What distributes it? All of those are different points of failure and so, what you want to do, is identify each individual transition point or each individual break point inside of your processes. And this doesn't just have to be about sales and marketing or go to market teams. If you work with a customer success team, an example of your break points might be the point at which a customer success representative is assigned to an account after it goes closed one. Or it might be the fact that you create renewal opportunities for those renewals that are upcoming inside of your customer base. Each one of these components are things that you can identify as places that things can break. So, in the lead capture example, I would want to know of all the people who filled out a form or gave me their email inside of a widget, inside of drift, how many of those made it into the CRM and how many of them didn't? And so for each one of those break points, what we did at Drift is create a Salesforce report to monitor that specific break point. And that's what you can do to, whether it's in Salesforce or whatever system of record is important to you, identify those break points and create reports that will help you monitor each individual point. It's really important that you don't skip steps or use a much broader step to create these break points. Break it down to as nitty gritty as you possibly can, so when something breaks, it's really easy to troubleshoot that thing. More on that later. But that's number one, identify your break points. Number two: assign clear ownership. It's one of those things that if everybody owns it, nobody owns it. And so, as you are building your reports and identifying your break points, for every single component that you're going to put inside of your danger dash, you need to assign a clear owner who's going to be responsible for that part of the dashboard. So, I know when I get my danger dash email in the morning, the name of the person responsible for each report on that dashboard, is literally written below that individual component of the dashboard. So, if I see that we didn't stamp our lead sources properly, I can go to Lynn on the team and say," Hey, what happened here" or better yet, she can see it herself and take action. And so, writing the name on every single one of those components, will not only give ownership to the people on your team, but we don't just send this to ourselves. We send this to a lot of our internal customers. So now, when a VP of marketing or a CRO or a director of sales opens up this danger dash, which in addition to emailing to everybody on the ops team, we emailed to them as well, they know who is responsible and they have a really easy path of who they can talk to about fixing the potential problem. So, it's just as much about ownership within your own operations team, as it is transparency to some of your internal customers. Okay. That's number two, assign clear ownership. Number three is make them actionable and repeat. This may sound simple, but every single report that you include inside of your danger dashboard, needs to be something you can do something about. And so again, let's use the example of a lead that is missing its proper stamps. And so, I might say, I need to have the lead source and the lead source detail and the time at which they performed this particular action. For anything that shows up on the danger dash missing those pieces of information, I need to change that. I need to fill those pieces of information in. So if my report in the morning has one contact on it, by the time I'm done working, that report should have zero contacts on it. And what this will help you to do, is when you open the danger dash, it will flag for you very quickly, the places where your attention is needed. If you have a dashboard filled with components that have a million different contacts in each one of them, or each dashboard is reporting on daily trends up and down every single time, you're going to open that and not know what to do. And every single day, you're going to have to ask yourself," Did I fix that yesterday or not?" Fix it, zero it out and make sure each one of your dashboard components are completely actionable. By the way, this doesn't mean that the dashboard is going to be perfect, it's a work in progress. Think of it as a living, breathing thing, so that inevitably, just like the way you found components to add to your dashboard in the first place, when the next thing breaks, you're able to identify it, build a new report for your dashboard and add it into the dashboard. This should not be a static thing that never changes. You should be constantly on the lookout for places that things can break. Shine a light on that thing, organize it into the danger dashboard and then take action on it. So that's number three, making them actionable and repeat. So, if you do these three things, you are going to feel much more in control of your business. Again, the three things to implementing a danger dash are one, identify your break points. Two, assign clear ownership and three, make the reports actionable and repeat. And not just being in control of your business as a result of this, but you also won't feel caught off guard. At a previous job that I had. We had a sign on the door that when you left every night, you read this sign and the sign read" Let's make better mistakes tomorrow". And that's really what the danger dash is all about. You are never going to be able to predict every single scenario, look around every corner and predict every possible place that things can go wrong or break within your business. If you are, amazing. Good for you. Please come on the show so that I can learn from you. But for the rest of us mere mortals, the key is to learn from our mistakes, shine a spotlight on them and move on to what will inevitably be the next mistake. But, the danger dash will hopefully ensure that at the very least, your next mistake, won't be the same as your last.( singing) Thanks very much for listening. If you have a story about a danger dashboard that you've built or a danger dashboard like thing that you built, please send me your story. Reach out to me on LinkedIn, Shawn lane or email me at slanea @ drift. com. Always looking for ways that we can learn and make our own danger dashboards better. If you liked the show, please leave us a six star review on Apple Podcasts, six star reviews only. Also, if you're listening and you haven't subscribed yet to the show, hit subscribe. Make sure that this show shows up in your feed every other Friday when a new episode drops. That's going to do it for me. Thanks very much for listening. We'll see you next time.