Episode 112

Why Human-Focused Systems Are The Way To Go

April 26th, 2023


Continuing on our Clever Systems Designs theme, we’re focusing in our our fabulous humans in our business.
We dive into:
  • How the business thrives when our humans are connected
  • Our easy ways of working
  • The systems involved for connection
  • Evolving the communication strategy
  • Collecting feedback from your team

Connect with Nicole on Instagram @theartisansolutions 
Nicole’s website: https://theartisans.com.au/
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This podcast is produced by Good Chat Media


Welcome to Take Control with Nicole, as business owners we experience first hand the fine line between our personal and business lives. During our conversations, we will look at simple hints and tips to create time, reduce overwhelm, and help you to navigate through your journey to where you want to be. If you’re looking for smarter ways to work, and create space and time freedom in your day, then you’re in the right place. All right, let’s go.

Hello. I’m Nicole Smith, COO, Operations Specialist and Systems Designer from The Artisans Business Solutions and welcome to Take Control With Nicole. This week, we are going to continue on that fabulous theme that we love so much over here at The Artisans – clever systems design. Having a problem with my S’s today. But this week, we are going to put the lens on clever systems designed focusing on our fabulous humans in our business.

Now, this is a space that for our business, we are really right in here at the moment we are growing our fabulous team. And we are reviewing and viewing our ways of working to enhance that experience for our humans. We are all about creating sustainable work practices and making them away that’s really enjoyable, not just for you as a business owner or for me as a business owner, but also for our team to enjoy as well. They feel surrounded, they feel supported, and really confident to know exactly where and what and how to do all their daily actions. So that’s what we’re going to be talking about today we’re going to recap of what a system actually is, talk about how our humans are a really important part in delivering those actions, and what happens when they are really connected in with those processes.

So let’s go. Okay, what is the system – a recap, we have spoken about this in two previous episodes, one about the foundations, and one about the tech with the tech lens. But today our systems are again, our silos remembering that silos systems are also connected in the ways that we work.

So, we’ve got say HR, IT, Finance, Marketing, Sales, so working with our clients, admin internal, there may be other ones, depending on how your business is structured, then we’re going to go micro. So what are those actionable tasks or systems in your business that you’re doing repeatedly, day in, day out, even those one off things that come in at a moment’s glance, and then off, they go for another however long, all of these things are backed up with systems and ways of working, that have process tech humans all the parts connected in to really create that beautiful experience that I mentioned before.

So our humans are a real integral part of any way of working because these are the people who are pressing buttons, and doing the things to get those deliverable actions. We have previously talked about the tech and how when we design our systems, with a view to make them simple and easy and add automation, so that when our human operating systems come into play, it’s really clear the responsibilities and roles that they play in that process in that way of working, and how they can actually enhance and utilize the technology to make it really simple for them.

So, our people, especially at The Artisans, really it’s about designing our ways of working to support their day, their energy levels, to really support the business to continue to move forward to wherever we’re heading. Every business is different as we know. And so, when we’re really focusing in on our clever systems design, pop back a couple of episodes, and we explored what that is, we look at the four phases. So, we talk about discovery, design, create and connect.

Now, the connection phase is also very much about our humans, really providing that opportunity for them to connect in with those beautiful designs that you’ve invested energy and time to really design them in a way that utilizes the technologies to make it easy, to make it enjoyable. And so, all of a sudden, a process that may have taken say, 10 minutes now takes five and that means that the energies of our humans are savored, they are really able to lean on into some of those other areas where maybe you need a little bit more brain power that can really transform the doing work into that elevation work of that experience. Oh, when are people connected to the ways of working?

The experience as a business owner just transforms, you know, some examples from my own business from the last few months is, really, once we have identified those roles and what systems they will be responsible for; being able to have those documentations that SOPs standard operating procedures, you’ll hear me use that terminology over and over again, over our the series of the podcast going forward, SOP. This, having these things in place, really empowers your team to confidently dance in and around the way that you operate your business, designed in the way that you want it done, you want to complete it.

Now, we know from previous conversations that processes are never locked in stone. So as you go through those four phases, discovery, design, create, connect, pop back a couple of episodes, and you can explore a little bit more what that’s about. As we’re going through that having a human-focused approach to design will create an experience for you and your people that will far surpass anything that maybe had previously been involved, or had been created, where it’s just efficiency focused. Now, when we’re looking at our humans, and the types of roles and responsibilities they play in your business, it’s really about aligning the skill sets that are required. And then when we have aligned those skill sets, the processes and the systems that we’ve designed, it just beautifully flows through.

Something that we’ve identified internally for our team is the how we share information, how we capture it, where we capture what’s needed, when isn’t needed, and who is actually responsible for the delivery of that task. We obviously may or may not know, we use ClickUp over here, The Artisans, it is our favorite system. And we have devised our own internal system of communication of tasks. So for our client design deliverable tasks, by the simple standardization of that system, our team have had, the experience has been amazing as a business owner, because we know, well I know that once we’ve communicated it – off, they go autonomously working in the ways that they do, they just go and do that things because the skill sets aligned to the roles. They know the structures that we like to work within and dance within The Artisans. And so again, that’s another system ways of working, how do we do blah, blah, blah, whatever it might be, SOP, FYI, always create an SOP.

And it’s really easy for our people to come back and connect in. They’re working, as I said autonomously, they know that I’m here. And we’re here as a collective team for any questions or brainstorming, or what do we think here? What’s the best approach for this, and then they go and they come back and all of a sudden, again, system of communication, when task is completed and ready for Nicole’s review, update status, all those tech things are in place. So our assignees update automatically, a sub-task is created for me to actually go in and review work when that’s required. Dates are set, we use Loom as part of our communication strategy, where a lot of us are visual and audio learners and acquirer of information. So having not just a text form, and audio visual form available, really streamlines and fast tracks that that sharing of knowledge, so that we can easily connect in with task. If something for me to review, I can go in and review it quickly. And to give that turnaround time or that feedback to continue that process going forward. Another system that we have introduced internally over the past few weeks is an acknowledgement of message in WhatsApp and in ClickUp, sometimes as business owners and as managers. So let’s put our manager hat on for the moment. One of the core roles is to ensure our people have all the data and all the information they need. So again, let’s look at the clever system design. Let’s put that hat on for a moment, take Manager off, clever system design hat on. What are we doing well now what’s working, what’s not working? What are your team telling you? What tech are we using? How are we using it?

What’s missing? So, discovery, collecting all that data, pulling it all together, really connecting him with it, starting to pull out those threads of commonalities, those things that we can see, Hey, okay, we’re doing this really well. But this is the missing piece over here, great. Move down to design. So in this example, when this was identified that there was, you know, communication that needed to be acknowledged, etc. So what I did from a design point of view is I created a little key using emojis and descriptions. What is it that when I do this, this is what it means. So we use WhatsApp as our internal communication tool back and forth. And so in WhatsApp, I’ve done a post and I’ve started so it’s a really easy rec a place to, refer back to, as were connecting, that’s the fourth stage that came through for watching video, that’s the fourth phase. So that as we’re connecting in this new process, that is really easy to refer to. So now, my team, so we’ve discovered, we’ve designed, I’ve created it. And we’re connecting, we’re now in connection phase.

Just interrupting this episode for one little message, if you have been listening and love what you hear and want to come in Connect, we have a Take Control with Nicole Facebook community, right over there on Facebook, that I would love to invite you to come and join us. We are a supportive community, we are looking to really take action in our businesses, and change the way or evolve the way we’re working right now. So I invite you to come on over and join our community and connect with us all. Community is the essence of everything, your business, being able to really build those relationships that you can nurture, and grow and support and celebrate each other. Oh, how fabulous, I hope to see you over there, pop on over to Facebook, Take Control with Nicole. See you soon.

My team now confidently know that when they comment on something in ClickUp, or they message in WhatsApp, that I can easily go and add an emoji that has a meaning to it. And they already know if it’s a celebrate little trumpet thing. It’s like yep, acknowledged, fabulous, you’re amazing. There’s a couple of other things, we’ve got about four different ones, you know, one acknowledged, I’ll revert back to you within 24 hours, acknowledged, we need to have some more brain work on this, you know, acknowledge whatever else that might fit right for you and your team. Designing that key will really help that flow of communication back and forth. That’s just one example of how when you are looking at design in a creative way, or systems, designing systems in a creative way, all of a sudden, it transforms into a really practical application of how can you evolve that experience for you and your team right now, moving it to what’s moving it to the ways that are now just normal. This is just the way that we operate business as usual.

So, what you’ve just learned is how important our humans are as part of the whole area of clever systems design, feedback, points of view, have you thought of this, all of those conversations that naturally flow, I know we attract the most beautiful curious humans who are always imagining things that are not yet possible. And as a business, it’s our responsibility to listen, absorb and take the actions that are required, always connecting back in with our obviously our business values, and where our business bigs are heading. So is this in alignment with where we’re going forward as a business. At this stage, we are in growth phase. So with growth phase, there’s lots of things that are moving and shaking, we’re still businesses as normal. But we’re also preparing so that as we continue to grow sustainably, because that is a really important thing for me and a focus for, for my business and my team internally from our sustainable work practices as well, to create them so that they’re enjoyable, of course, but that it creates and removes that urgency, that rushness that we know that we can easily go in and when clear on what we’re doing and when it’s required by.

So our humans and my humans at The Artisans are our integral part to the way that we support our clients and myself. I know and I’ve shared on the socials if you follow me over there, parts of this journey and in particular at time of recording, so we’re at the end of March, the last sort of month in particular, the connection and the feeling of being surrounded and supported, which are two really core values for me over here, The Artisans has just radiated through. And all of this has resulted from clever systems design, giving ourselves the time and investing the space and time to really look at how we have been working. And it has been ye-olly me doing most of the things capturing all of the data in my brain and transferring it now into again, I talk about transfer of IP, transferring that IP out into your standard operating procedures, your SOP documentation, so that it’s going to support your team, as you’re growing, as you’re getting more people in and out of the business.

Really, you know, being able to sustainably grow your business in a beautiful way, and continuing to support your clients in the exact way that you have always imagined would be possible. So I’m going to leave you with a couple of action points. So first of all, when we are designing our systems to support our humans, and one of the things we can start with is actually having a look and investing some time to think about our current ways of working. So what are we doing? Where are we doing it? Who’s doing what? What tech are we using now, this is something we have spoken about in previous episodes as well. So you may already be on this journey, which is fabulous.

If you’ve already done the two actions from the previous ones. Now add that human lens onto it, regardless of what stage of business you’re at, if you’re just starting out, or if you’re at the same stage as me, which is that growth phase, put that human lens on it, because guess what, you’re a human as well. This is just as important at whatever stage you are, one human will be actioning the task if it’s you, or if you’re at a stage to delegate internally to a team, or externally to a contractor, whatever it might be, adding that human focus was going to support you in the long term to continue to sustainably work and be able to just love being human. So another, another action point for you is schedule the time to actually connect in with your team and collect some feedback.

These humans are doing these actions each and every day. They have amazing brains, they’re curious, they want to make it easier for themselves and for you as a business owner. So connect in, jump on a Zoom, if you’re local, even better, go to a coffee shop, have a dinner, whatever it might be, or chat, whatever works for you. However your team is structured, wherever they’re located in the world, create a container of curiosity and ask this is a safe space. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Let’s chat about them. What do you love during what what’s not working? Is there a system that you would feel could really benefit us as a team to continue to grow out and collaborate further on these projects or these ways of working? Once you’ve collected that data. so, let’s think about this discovery phase.

And we’re going to go into the next phase, you know, collecting it, we’ve got those discovery, design, create, connect – all of these flow through. So we’re going to identify what are those missing pieces to the puzzle right now, and start to create an action plan for change. Now, we know business as usual. There’s things that we do, our client work is priority 100%. But all of these underlying foundational elements of ways of working, when we invest, and we even do little micro changes as we continue, the experience for your clients as that flows through is again going to be so enhanced and elevated. It’s going to be such a worthwhile exercise. When you identify those little micro changes.

One that we have done in The Artisans the last couple of weeks, my team are now hosting sessions with our clients. So that’s a transition away from me doing all the doing to our fabulous team empowered to having those conversations directly. And so what we identified is, it’s time to get a new Zoom link. So that was really easy, could click some buttons and make it a thing as a flow on effect from that. We created new email addresses so that then we could create individual booking calendars for each of our team. So, as they’re managing their own client accounts, it’s really easy to streamline that process just like I have for my calendar for the past three years.

We’re now emulating and replicating that experience across each of The Artisans team members because we’re wanting consistency. Remember from a client point of view, consistency of experience consistency from internal. So if someone’s booking an appointment, we know exactly what system we’re going to, we know exactly which setting we’re going to select. And we know exactly what tech tools we’re going to be using. As part of that process. Change can be a beautiful thing. When it’s managed beautifully, we’ve got all of the things to support as part of that connect phase, you’ve got your documentation, or beautifully designed, we use ClickUp.

Surprise, surprise, and we have shaped the most glorious SOP templates. So if you’ve worked as with us in the past, and you’ve got some SOPs, these new ones are pretty darn dandy, but new clients you’re gonna see them straight as an example, if you’re using ClickUp of course will pop them on in there for you. But regardless of format, get those documentations ready, invest some time, allow your team to really connecting with their ways of working, because then once they’re confident, I can tell you from experience, the space that’s created from delegating, and empowering our team to be the most fabulous humans has allowed me to finally step into that CEOing working space that I’ve always known has been a thing, but it’s now a reality, because we’ve created that space, all based off our clever systems design.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I would love to hear what you have taken away from today. What is that action point that you thought? Yes, Nicole, that is something that we’re going to be doing and scheduling into my calendar right now so we can get it done. Pop onto my DN’s, or share the episode in one of your stories on one of the platforms and tag us because I always love to hear those stories and connect with you as a human. Because again, humans are the most important part in the world, in the business world and in the life world. There we go word, love a connection. Anywho wrapping it up there. Thank you for joining me today had the most fabulous rest of your week and enjoy creating clever systems for your business. Bye now.

Thank you so much for joining me today. It’s been such a pleasure having you on board. Have we connected on socials yet? If not, please come on over say hi, I’m on all the platforms at The Artisans Solutions. So I’d really look forward to seeing you over there. And if you enjoy today’s episode, don’t forget to tag me and I’d love it if you could leave a review. And of course share this with others so others can come and join us next time. All right, then everyone have a fabulous rest of the week and until next time see you then.



Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we work and live. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We celebrate the stories, culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of all communities who also work and live on this land.