A Pirates Guide To Unleashing the Power of Your Process

You’re likely familiar with at least one personality system - from Meyers Briggs to DISC or Strengths Finder, you may have even taken a test with your team at work. I’ve always enjoyed them, until I found the Enneagram.

The Enneagram is an ancient personality typing system with roots in various spiritual and philosophical traditions, including mystical Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and ancient Greek philosophy.

Today, the Enneagram is used in personal development, psychology, and business to help individuals understand their behaviors, motivations, and paths for growth. It’s a simple way to understand personality, strengths, and how I tend to exist alongside others, but it’s kind of brutal. I can’t help but read about myself and hear all the ways that I’m difficult.

I’m an individualist and an achiever — a 4 with a 3 wing, sometimes referred to as The Enthusiast.

My enthusiasm comes across when I’m excited about making new things and pushes me to get that thing done no matter what. I struggle to find enjoyment in repetitive tasks and typically love to blaze new trails, each and every day.

Following Process

Blazing new trails usually means that I’d rather create a new process than follow one that already exists.

Of course, I know processes exist, but I can easily view that process as an impediment to the art of creating something truly transformational.

Thankfully I work with a team that appreciates when I wander in the wilderness for a while, but they are equally excited when I return to their expertise when it is time to implement ideas. I have to let go and trust the disciplined process.

My wanderings recently led me to Root Financial Partners, a fascinating, modern RIA in Southern California.

James and the team at Root are impressive. Their clear, well-designed and organized communication has deliver over 100k YouTube subscribers. Their process-driven messaging has grown their audience because clients and prospects understand the process of working with Root.

With a named process, James and team provide clients with a very easy-to-understand, 5-area process that drives success.

The Sequoia System: Root's Process

Fundamentally, the way your firm delivers services and advice harnesses, defines, and transforms not only your client experience but also the success of your business.

Your process is your playbook.

Pirates, Process & Playbook

I hope you remember the late Mike Leach. Mike was a lifelong football coach, pirate enthusiast, and anti-establishment personality who coached football for Washington State, Texas Tech, and Mississippi State.

Aside from his hilarious takes on the facts of life, Mike mastered one of the most successful processes in college football: The Air Raid Offense.

Mike Leach: The 60 Minutes Interview

His playbooks often had only 14 pass plays, yet his quarterbacks were generally some of the highest-grossing passers in the country.

His team had an identity, they had a process, and they ran a very clear playbook.

His process was as successful as it could have been for the schools he led. And to this day, his coaching tree is occupied by many of today’s most sought-after coaches.

Your Process is Who You Are

It’s not hard to understand how your team may wind up without defined processes. Letting everyone do what’s right in their own eyes is the easiest path to just getting stuff done.

But getting stuff done is not the same thing as getting stuff done right. Without formalizing your processes, you’ll likely wind up with divided teams, over-extended attention, and disjointed work.

Here are several key strategies that I am working on that may be useful to you and your firm as well as part of embracing a process lead firm:

  1. Defining the Process: Clearly articulate the process that serves most of your clients, ensuring it's comprehensive and manageable. Your team should be able to fully understand the full process at any moment, so you probably need to keep it pretty simple. Try not to worry about edge cases and standardize wherever you can. Be sure to WRITE IT DOWN. Don’t just talk about it.
  2. Assigning Ownership: Allocate process segments to team members based on their strengths to foster expertise and accountability. They should become the SME for that area of the business, and their area should complement the adjacent goals, processes and outcomes.
  3. Leveraging Technology: Integrate technology to enhance efficiency and effectiveness at every process stage. Where does each piece of technology align with the process?
  4. Practicing Relentlessly: Ensure the process becomes second nature to your team, embodying it in every action and decision.
  5. Perfect Your Playbook: Your process is your playbook. Make it so. Take it with you, lean into it, and make it better every day, quarter, or year.

The Journey Continues

Refining our processes, both personally and professionally, is an ongoing journey that requires continuous learning, adaptation, and commitment.

Where are you on your process journey?

How would you grade out your adoption to process?

Related: How Is Your Firm Working to Span Generations?