Aligning People and Purpose to Increase Business Value

In this episode of The Faces of Business, Kelly Schaefbauer, President and Founder of Aligned Operations, discusses the power of aligning people and purpose to drive business growth and maximize its value.

In this episode of The Faces of Business, Kelly Schaefbauer, President and Founder of Aligned Operations, discusses the power of aligning people and purpose to drive business growth and maximize its value.

Kelly Schaefbauer has over ten years of experience specializing in providing small businesses with operational alignment. With his expertise in structured operations, he has helped numerous organizations achieve clarity, confidence, and trust while optimizing their performance.

Drawing on his background, Kelly understands the importance of creating a strengths-focused organization that enables smooth scaling. He will share the six practices of structured operations that engage, unite, and empower teams, ultimately driving success.

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As the President and Founder of Aligned Operations, Kelly has successfully guided small businesses in achieving operational alignment. His commitment to providing clarity, confidence, and trust allows organizations to unlock their full potential and drive sustainable growth.

Kelly’s passion for operational excellence is evident throughout his career. From his role as General Manager and Partner at Mankato Computer Repair to his experience as the Wholesale Director at Cannon River Winery, he has consistently demonstrated his ability to streamline workflows, implement technology solutions, and develop strategic plans that deliver results.

Get ready to learn from Kelly about aligning people and purpose to discover the transformative power of structured operations.

Do you want to know if your business is ready for your exit or what you should do to prepare? Learn this and more with our business exit assessment here.

Damon is excited to welcome Kelly on his show. The host initiates a trip down memory lane to understand Kelly’s journey from growing up in the Midwest to his current role.
Kelly reveals his journey, discussing how he transitioned from working in corporate America to starting his IT business. He describes how the initial excitement and passion gradually become frustration and challenges as the business grows.

Kelly compares the experience of owning a business to the joys and difficulties of parenthood. He shares an eye-opening moment when he realizes the key difference between his business and a successful one owned by a friend: the friend has a trusted management team in place, allowing the business to flourish. Intrigued by this realization, Kelly delves into the study of management principles and becomes particularly interested in the work of management guru Elliot Jocks. He finds resonance in the combination of psychology-based approaches and structured operations, despite the notion that it may not be considered “sexy.”

The guest became determined to transform the frustration he experiences into fulfillment through the power of structure.

Get the most value for your business by understanding the process and preparing for the sale with information here on our Selling a Business page.

Damon appreciates Kelly for bringing up a good point.

In response to Damon’s query about businesses reaching inflection points where growth becomes frustrating, Kelly explains that entrepreneurs, especially those lacking experience in growing companies, often have the competency to fulfill a need and a vision for building something greater. However, they frequently lack the managerial competencies required for team development.

Kelly emphasizes the importance of understanding and implementing practices such as establishing the right structure, documenting work processes, assigning roles, training employees, monitoring performance, and continuously improving processes. By embracing these practices, businesses can overcome barriers and navigate the growth phase between $250,000 and $1 million, ultimately creating effective teams and returning to a more fulfilling experience.

Kelly further clarifies that his approach focuses on aligning people and purpose, with processes being a part of it. The process involves starting with the purpose and then defining the requirements for the organization to fulfill that purpose. Rather than using the term “goals,” they emphasize understanding the purpose and the requirements to materialize it.

Finding Kelly’s process and approach interesting and beneficial, Damon shows interest in the power of clarity on what needs to be done and who will be responsible for it, whether the business remains the same size or expands significantly.

Kelly explains that their process is iterative, where requirements are defined to reach the next step but will evolve as the business progresses. They evaluate the business’s current state, identifying barriers and strengths. Considering limited resources, they devise a plan to address immediate needs and long-term goals. Developing the management team is crucial, with managers conducting their analysis. The task inventory provides valuable context.

Damon shifts the conversation toward the theory of constraints and some ways to tackle them. He believes documenting tasks and processes is essential.

Kelly adds that many business owners, including nonprofits, lack awareness of their financial health. He emphasizes the importance of understanding financial requirements and improving efficiency and accuracy in bookkeeping. Kelly also notes a lack of knowledge about frontline employees’ work within departments and the need for proper training.

“There’s a lack of understanding of responsibilities and how work should get done,” asserts Kelly.

Similarly, the guest recognizes the independent problem-solving skills of some individuals, including himself. He expresses his love for including frontline employees in improvement discussions and recognizes managers’ role in facilitating problem-solving and coaching the team.

After aligning their people, purpose, and processes, Damon asks Kelly about the feedback he receives from businesses.

Kelly discloses that businesses often express surprise and newfound awareness after the alignment process. They appreciate the open environment created for managers to address departmental issues. By implementing the task inventory and role descriptions, businesses better understand workloads and identify areas where managers may be overloaded. The documentation process helps standardize functions and reveals multiple approaches to work.

Businesses appreciate the insights gained and the opportunity to improve their people, purpose, and processes.
Kelly addresses Damon’s question of whether their services suit solopreneurs and startups. He affirms that there is a version of their solution that doesn’t require excessive administrative overhead.

They discuss the importance of documenting work and outline the seven levels of documentation within an organization. They aim to make these managerial leadership practices accessible through their app, overcoming the mental block and providing a methodology that makes sense for businesses to accomplish their work effectively.

Kelly emphasizes the importance of managers adopting an innovative mindset and connecting departmental processes. The annual strategic planning process ensures adaptability to changing technologies.
Similarly, Kelly says Zoom has enhanced its client servicing approach through “show and tell” sessions, with analysts documenting the demonstrated processes.

As the show draws near to its conclusion, Kelly asserts the significance of connecting their services to employee engagement and positive work experiences. They aim to partner with coaches who excel in interpersonal skills and conflict resolution, complementing their focus on knowledge and skill development. By combining competency and a supportive mindset, they strive to foster fulfillment and productivity for individuals, managers, and business owners.

The show concludes with Damon thanking Kelly for his valuable time and workable tips

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business, work, part, manager, inventory, task, people, requirements, process, good, department, companies, business owner, kelly, love, competencies, constraints, organization, functions, changing
Damon Pistulka, Kelly Schaefbauer

Damon Pistulka 00:01
All right, everyone, welcome once again to the faces of business. I am your host, Damon Pistulka. And I am excited for our guests today. Because we have Kelly shave power here with aligned operations. We’re gonna be talking about aligning people and process. Kelly, thank you for being here today.

Kelly Schaefbauer 00:22
Absolutely. My pleasure. Yeah, it’s

Damon Pistulka 00:24
gonna be fun, man. So, Kelly, we always like to start our guests off, taking a trip down memory lane. And kind of understanding how Kelly went from growing up in the Midwest to helping people in organizations to get alignment, so they can run their businesses better. So let’s start back at your background and kind of how you got here today.

Kelly Schaefbauer 00:50
Yeah, it’s a pretty common story, I tell it, you know, it’s classic, got the entrepreneurial bug. When I was in my 20s, I worked corporate America for a while, and I did enjoy that, but it I could feel it just wasn’t my happy place. And so I did a little bit of moonlighting and dabbling in the IT industry. And that led to me starting up a business around it. You know, I had the classic E Myth, you know, entrepreneurial seizure, I decided that I can do it better. And I, you know, we have a lot of entrepreneurs, and in my family, my dad owned a restaurant, and I had several brothers that have owned businesses and so forth. So we have kind of have it in our blood. So yeah, it’s, it was that exciting, you know, started it off and picked up a few clients here and there and had it grow. And I it was, it was something that I was I was passionate about, i i I felt fulfilled by it. But as it grew, my fulfillment grew to frustration and challenges. And I often liken it to when I describe my parenthood is, you know, raising children is one of the best and worst things that can happen to a person. And I believe that was definitely the same thing with owning a business where it was, it was turned into as it progressed, more of like I said, frustration, it had that classic ceiling, you know, we capped out at about 100k a year. And that was not a pleasant 800k a year. And I had a buddy who was an entrepreneur as well, who owned a website development company. And we started about the same time, and it was, technology was just, you know, really getting going and websites. And, you know, before we knew it, he was, you know, in the $2 million a year range, and he was buying a new Audi and he was really enjoying, and I’m like, Eric, what the hell what’s going on? What’s what’s different about it. And we really kind of looked at, he had a trusted management team, you know, he had built that, that managerial layer. And he followed a few key people that he introduced me to, and it just clicked for me as far as really feeling passionate about that difference between an ownership of a business that’s fulfilling, and one that’s frustrating. And I really wanted to dissect that out. I do have a science background. i My degree is actually in biology. So I really like to pack things and dissected out. Specifically, I got turned on to a management guru called Elliot jocks. And there’s a current, he’s since passed. But there’s a gentleman, Tom Foster, who has really been promoting his work. He has a great management blog, and I really took to that whole, you know, it’s a psychology based focus along with structure. It’s all of that stuff, that it’s just not sexy. Yeah, but I really, really resonated with me. And I felt like this is the difference and I really want to see how we can or I can at the time change, you know, that frustration to something that’s more fulfilling through structure, right, who would think?

Damon Pistulka 04:34
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Because you You brought up a good point. There are different inflection points in the business lifecycle, and even no matter how long it continues to grow and get larger where you just run into it goes from fulfilling to frustrating because your systems or your people, your just your organization is not ready for the next where they have to go to growing? And, yeah, we run into that a lot where it can be, you know, like I said, it can be $800,000. In some business, it can be 5 million and others can be a million and others. But you see, the typical signs of people are really busy working super hard. But they so they, they don’t have the things set up to be able to go farther because they don’t see next, and really how to, what do we add tomorrow to go a little bit better and a little bit farther?

Kelly Schaefbauer 05:33
Yeah, I’ve recently kind of come up with the the thought and idea that entrepreneurs, especially startups that don’t have a lot of experience in growing companies, they typically have a skill set, they’re competent at doing something to fulfill a need. And this is kind of E Myth stuff. But they’ve also have a vision, they can see they so they have that competency with with some sort of producing a product or delivering a service. And they do see that they want to be part of building something or a part of something greater, that’s their own, but they lack that managerial middle, they typically don’t have those competencies around developing and building teams. And part of its interpersonal, but it’s also just the mechanics of management. You know, what is the right structure? And all those things that, you know, we talk about, and we promote, and we now are developing tools around Yeah, often, it’s, like I said, it’s not the sexy stuff. But it’s stuff that doesn’t make such a difference. And it seems like, we’re trying to identify the barriers to that stuff. And what I’m talking about is like in structure, you know, what are the requirements of work, and we organize and break that down, and then document it, and then assign that work and role descriptions, train those people developing performance monitoring, with analytics, and then kind of started all over again, with continuous improvement, you know, how do we evaluate and then improve the different parts of the whole to bring the whole thing up? But that’s overwhelming. And people it’s like, especially documentation. I love that example. No one wants to document their stuff. Yeah, yeah. Um, but it’s important. And it’s a difference, too, from those, you know, companies that are wanting to evolve and grow beyond our sweet spot is 250k to a million. That’s kind of the area where if you can understand and embrace those practices, you’re gonna get through that period as you’re building those first teams. To make it back to pleasant. Yeah.

Damon Pistulka 07:50
Yeah, yeah, good stuff. Good stuff. Well, we’ve got Dale here with us today. Hello, Dale. We’ve got Andrew coming in from California and Erica, coming in from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Wow. So thanks for being here today, guys. So let’s get started. So you, you kind of got got into the hole aligning people and processes out of pure frustration, it sounds like,

Kelly Schaefbauer 08:18
well, I shouldn’t correct you a little bit our kind of our tagline it processes part of it, but we aligned people in purpose. People the purpose there. Yeah. So it’s really about, you know, those mechanisms, processes, part of what we do to align that structure part of it, and how we break it down on one end, from the purpose, we start with the purpose, and then we define the requirements. You know, we no longer use the word goals anymore. Yeah, we just we go from what’s your purpose, and then what’s going to be required for you to materialize that organization to fulfill that purpose. Then from there, once we have the structure, we can flip it around to the people, we now know the requirements into a structure, we do something called the task inventory, where we will go through every aspect and function of the business and break it down into a unit of work called the task. We organize that in our system. And now we start applying that to the right people. Now we have a way of aligning those people’s competencies back through the task inventory into the structure and then to the purpose.

Damon Pistulka 09:29
Yeah, that’s super interesting. And when when you and I met before we went went through your process and how you guys do and I think it’s really it’s really beneficial. Even if your your business is like you say going to scale past this, I mean to to set up this foundation at that size in your business, whether it’s going no further in size or whether it’s going quintupling or farther. This is going to help you in the long run because you’re going to make sure that we have idea unapplied what we need to do and who’s going to do it? Yeah.

Kelly Schaefbauer 10:03
And it’s part of that iterative process. You know, I say requirements, the requirements to just get you to the next step. But that’s going to change and evolve, as you’re going down the road we always talk about now, next later, you know, we take an inventory, just to see what’s happening today. That’s the first thing when we get involved in businesses, no, no, no future, you know what we’re going to inventory, how you’re doing things right now. And at least that creates a basis for us to kind of see what’s going on and what’s working, what’s not. I’m a big fan of the theory of constraints, where you can look at what’s happening and see what’s the what are your barriers or bottlenecks. And then next is your plan, you know, what’s going to get you to the next part in the context of the later the Big Vision part of it. So we’re gonna kind of start there, take your inventory, and then kind of iterate back along the way to see what makes sense with your, of course, small businesses, especially have limited resources. Yeah, yeah. So we got to really be smart about where we’re going to apply that for the next part of this thing. And again, we bring it back to that development of the management team of who’s going to take responsibility. And that’s one thing we coach into the managers is to do your own theory of constraints or your constraint analysis, just right within your department. But when we have that task inventory, we can do that a little bit easier. We have context. Yeah.

Damon Pistulka 11:25
Yeah. Yeah. In for for people that aren’t familiar with the Theory of Constraints, from from a real basic explanation of it is, if you got if you got a business and consider a business, like a big pipe, and you’ve got a small piece of pipe in that big pipe as your business, that’s your constraint in your business. And if you can find that in any area of your business, and expand it, so the capacity is more theoretically, things to flow better. So I’ve always liked the water theory around the explanation of that, because it’s so simple to yeah, do. And yeah, there’s Go ahead. So there’s a great book

Kelly Schaefbauer 12:11
out called The Goal. I can’t remember the author’s name, they use a Boy Scout troop analogy that I think is awesome as well. You’re the group, if they’re holding on to a rope can only go as fast as the slowest guy, right? Yes. So you want to fix that slow guy. Yeah. And then we can all move along a little bit faster. But I mean, that’s a whole nother, we we’ve brought some of that into when we talked about performance evaluation, using analytics, we then apply those analytics to understand our shortfalls or constraints, what tasks or functions aren’t meeting our benchmarks, and they’re holding back the rest of the department. So

Damon Pistulka 12:56
so as long as you’re doing this with with people, and you’re aligning people purpose in and really ironing out the organization from a systems standpoint, or at least documenting what they’re doing and the tasks are doing. What are some of the things that that show up that people go? Oh, my goodness, I didn’t realize this?

Kelly Schaefbauer 13:19
Oh, you know, it’s interesting. Right now, I’m, I’ve been working a lot. And I’m not an accountant. But I, I’ve been getting involved a lot in finance, you know, and it’s amazing to me, how a business owner and we, you know, I mentioned before, we’re working with some nonprofits, how they’re just unaware of their cash or their spending, or their financial picture or health. And so, you know, one of the things that we do get involved in is, again, back to requirements, you know, what, what is what should you be looking at, and then breaking down how you’re going to get there, you know, from a function in the process. I’m drawn to bookkeeping, and that, again, I’m not an accountant. But yeah, so heavy process that I can’t help myself, I love to get in there and improve from an efficiency standpoint, but also more importantly, accuracy, and timely data when it comes to finances. Again, small businesses have limited funds, you really have to know that you’re using them in the best possible way in that organization’s iteration. Right. Yeah, so So that’s an area where I’m really seeing a lack of understanding with that. The other you know, just in a general terms, it’s interesting. As we start doing the task inventory where there there really isn’t a knowledge about what work the frontline people are doing within departments. Yeah. You know, they’re just kind of, you know, the businesses wonders, or you know, some of the leadership team, they’re stressed out, they feel like we just need to add more bodies. So they throw people at it with a general guide of what they should be doing. And this speaks to that whole lack of training. And they’re just kind of figuring it out. And so, you know, we do run into this realization that, you know, a lot of the managers don’t really know how people are doing the work. And so it is a little bit of when we come in, we used to call it an audit, and now we changed it to inventory just because it’s a little lighter. Yeah, no department manager wants to have their department audited, audited, we turned it into a fun inventory. You know, and that brings to light I think we do it in a pretty productive, non judgmental way. I think there’s often This might even the business owners, you know, there is a little bit of an ego there that there there could get exposed for the lack of doing things in a in a in a requisite way. But it’s a part of the process. We’re just here to just see where you’re at today.

Yeah, well, and honestly, when, when you approach and done this before you go, Oh, you’re talking to somebody about their business. Now, we don’t do that I’m so embarrassed, blah, blah, blah. But listen, there’s a lot of things like you said before, you only have so many hours in the day to run a business and your skills are in one place. And that might be in another there’s a million different reasons why it’s certain things don’t get done in the business. But as you said, most people don’t go into business, because they’re good at business, they go into it, because they’re good at something. And that’s, that’s great in the beginning, because they they can, they can see something and they can see an opportunity because of their experience in an industry and to see that there’s an opportunity to make money, but

Damon Pistulka 17:05
they don’t necessarily have all the skills to set up everything in a business. And that’s where I think you guys are helping a lot by by, you know, identifying tasks, who’s doing what, and then who’s now and who should be doing it. And what, how do they get to be trained, because you hit something there when you said they don’t really know what frontline people are doing. And the frontline, people just have to figure it out. This is what I see when we talk about people quitting and turnover and all kinds of things, not knowing what I’m supposed to be doing on a daily basis, or what success looks like for me on a daily basis, is killing a lot of companies because they’ll hire somebody new that wants to know what they’re supposed to do wants to know, you know, their task list for the day. And if you can explain that very good or at all, and then you have very little or no training, yeah, people are gonna get frustrated, that matter,

Kelly Schaefbauer 18:07
or support. Yeah, there’s, there’s, there’s a lack of understanding of responsibilities and how work should get done. And then a lack of support. You know, we talk about what we’re trying to fight is confusion, doubt and drama, you know, where to go, you know, that’s our, we believe our systems and our solutions. Provide the clarity that builds confident teams you can trust. And so if you don’t have that clarity coming through from a manager, you know, that that’s an awful workplace to be in I back a few years ago, I got introduced to Simon Sinek. And just love his work around workplace fulfillment and happiness. And, you know, I believe that there’s nothing better than, you know, doing a job well. And I think that’s part of the manager’s role, we simplify it as the manager’s role is to develop the process, but to the requirements that are presented to them, guide their people into it through training, and education, and then support the shit out of them when they need it, you know, be there for them. Keep them coming along. It can be frustrating. You know, it’s it’s, I’ve been part of transition where you’re brought in where that person that was training you left, and there’s no one else in the whole company that knows how to do what you’re supposed to be doing. It’s not a pleasant place to be. No, and I think everybody has a story like that.

Well, yeah, I mean, and you you see this in organizations, and especially it’s even I’m not even saying smaller organizations. I back it up because there’s some organizations that get large Just because they can hire technical, quality technical people, and they, they figure things out on their own. But really to scale companies effectively, the ones that have figured it out, make it clear enough so that if I’m coming in to do a role a, that is documented well enough that the training is clear enough that if someone has the basic skills they need, they can learn how to do that, from the training and the documentation that they have. And the companies that simply don’t have that have to fall back on people that will take the time to figure it out to do it the way they think they should do it. Yeah. And you see companies like this all the time, you can be successful like that, by having a bunch of people that figure things out and just do it the way they think they should. But to get, like you said, consistently getting all the work done that supposed to get done. And then a process that you can consistently measure, it’s very difficult, when you don’t have things to find,

Kelly Schaefbauer 21:02
yeah, you there’s, there’s, of course, those diamonds in a rough lose people that aren’t just great at figuring out, I believe that was me back when I was getting my business going. And you know, and so I had the mistake, then as a business owner, thinking my people I hired would be able to do the same thing. You know, so and I think business owners that have that natural aptitude to to work hard and figure things I wouldn’t be independent. You know, my things nowadays, why I want to be ensure that that work is going to get done to the benchmark we’ve talked about, you know, in order to bring the organization along. I love though, bringing those frontline people in as part of the improvement conversation to get their input. So they can be part of making it better. But it is the managers responsibility to dictate really, what is the process here, they’re supposed to be the expert in whatever that department, whether it’s finance, tech, HR, whatever your service delivery, is, there’s, you know, they should be the experts in a way that they’re the ones dictating process. And the other part of their leadership in that management role is escalation of issues. You know, when problems come up, they’re really effective at bringing that team in to problem solve, you know, they’re they’re not going to just give the answers but they’re going to help coach through that problem solving process to get those things resolved.

Damon Pistulka 22:42
Yeah, yeah, good stuff. Well, we’ve got Pamela Clark here, showing up from Detroit, Sunny Detroit. We’ve got a doula here and co founder of mango Shango. Good to have you here. T. Higgins is here with us today. Yep. Lot employers towards companies with a purpose. There’s no doubt about that. And my friend James conkel is here, fellow live caster, broad podcaster in the coatings industry, if you i He had an article, I don’t know if it was a recent article, or one I just saw over the weekend. I mean, you never think about all of the things that have coatings until you go and look at James’s stuff because he was talking about coatings for biofuels containers. And I’m like, I’m sure Yeah, I know. You got you have to have stuff for that.

Kelly Schaefbauer 23:31
I love to specialize businesses. Oh, yeah. Yeah, there’s there’s some little niche for everything, right? Yes, yes.

Damon Pistulka 23:42
And it’s so interesting. And here, you’re talking about this. I mean, when we’re talking about these other kinds of businesses, when when you get into a business, and you start helping aligning these people and the purpose, and they understand and get them through this process, or at least to a more advanced stage in the process, what are the some of the things that people tell you, after they’ve gone through and really, things start to work on the backside of, of trying to implement these align the people the purpose in there, yeah, and the process?

Kelly Schaefbauer 24:18
You know, we’re trying to find I’ve heard the term being liberated, come out, sometimes. I think especially managers, that mean or business owners that may not have the best relationship with managers, and managers afraid to speak out about what’s what’s wrong in their departments, you know, as we go through, you know, we do an alignment that’s kind of our full version of it is we’re we’re working with a management team. And we’ll we’ll provide some instruction about the whole implementation of our solution. It’s both method but it’s also we have a software solution called trellis to Rules, we’re going to give them some concepts and methodology and then we show them and give them an assignment on the tool. So, like I said, the first one is that task inventory, we’re just telling them, let’s, let’s break down all the requirements, the work that happens in your department into a unit of a task. And we organize those into functions. And those functions are what make up a department. And then we bring that hierarchy up departments, we fill up into business units, and then you know, the organization. But often as they’re going through this exercise of getting everything on the table, right, and just laying it all out there. And a lot of times, a business owner will be like, I didn’t, I never knew you guys did this much. The next step, once we have that task inventory is we don’t go into documentation right away, we start assigning it and we leverage off that task inventory to CREATE ROLE descriptions. We had a manager for a winery, here in Minnesota. Yes, Minnesota has wineries. Yes, they do. And I love them Minnesota wine. But there was a manager there, her role description became five pages long, just oh, you know, it was crazy. And the business owner was like, I had no idea. Because she was doing not only the management work, but she was being leveraged as backup for every other part of the business, whether it was working in the winery, she’d be there on weekends bottling, or she would be working the front tasting room or helping with the Event Center, or, I mean, she was part of incapable of participating in all of those different areas. And we found out she was working yourself to death, she was there all weekend long helping out with the tasting room. And all week during you know, in harvest, you know, they’re out harvesting. Yeah. And so they were just like, wow, we didn’t know, and it was really a call to action to really look at, yes, she needs to be aware of the manager, but she shouldn’t be the backup to everybody. That’s something that comes out as part of the role descriptions. And then the documentation piece, we leverage off that same task inventory, as your documentation library, as we have it built into that structure of functions and departments. And so what we find there is, as we get the the team of that department talking about how work gets done, we usually get two or three different versions of how it’s getting done. Yeah. Yeah. So that conversation is really enlightening as well, as far as you know, what’s the best way now we’ve identified people are doing a little bit of different, but I think, you know, for consistency, we all want it done within that department the same way. But then we can have a conversation about those three different ways. If it’s a good manager, you know, you’re you’re brainstorming to say, why are you doing that this way? And, you know, let’s talk about maybe we’ll bring in parts of each of these different ways to create the best way for a function overall.

Damon Pistulka 28:12
Yeah, that I think that’s so key. Because in and, again, if someone’s listening to this in business now, don’t feel like you’re alone. I mean, the vast majority of businesses under under, you know, $20 million. Have on this be honest, crappy documentation for process for Why do your job? What Why? Why do you want? Well, I mean, because that does it in the beginning, do you make money by documenting things? No, I think that is the core thing all the way throughout, is because you don’t make money doing it. You make money by selling your product or service, you make money by helping customers. You make money by doing that, and everybody’s so focused on it, but it is one of the things that will allow you to continue helping people better and longer if you if you implement it, because it does the it enhances the scalability and delivery of your products and services so much. And but it’s not. It’s not in the direct line in the beginning. Yeah.

Kelly Schaefbauer 29:19
Yeah, I we talked about solopreneurs. And, you know, in startups that are, you know, a business owner or partnership and, you know, people have asked, Would I would I would our solutions or our services be a good solution for for them? Of course, I say yes, it’s, I believe, there’s a version of what we’re doing. That doesn’t have to be this huge administrative overhead. We talk about seven levels of documentation within an organization. You know, we talked about that task inventory. When we do that task inventory. We’re not talking about how that work gets done. We’re just like identifying it as a requirement of a function within a department, let’s, I would say at least get that part in that. So at least you have a basis, and you have an understanding of all of the different aspects and requirements of work in that organization, then, if you want to the next step under Tasks is steps. So we quickly just off the top of your head, give me the steps, how does this get done, don’t get into the granular click this open that, you know, enter this value, just give me the quick steps. And now we can populate that very quickly and easily. You know, so we’re trying to come up with ways to get some of these practices we, you know, we call managerial leadership practices for people to do them. That’s why we created the app. You know, it’s it’s one of those things that we’re trying to get the value so large when you’re trying to, like you said, grow and scale. But it’s, there’s this mental block that it’s just not worth the time, or I don’t I think people lack that a methodology that makes sense for them and their teams to get that work done.

Damon Pistulka 31:10
Yeah, I think you’re right to you hit on it, I think people look at it as a daunting task. And it’s something that’s there’s not a lot of method and methodology or mythology around it, excuse me, about a structured process that people go, Oh, yeah, this is a structured process for us, like, you know, whatever, but, and so they look at it this huge task, they don’t know how to start. Yeah, and that probably holds a lot of them back as it is. But it really is, when you got a structured way, like you’re helping people to you, you know, this, it’s we start here, go here, go here, go here. And when you’re led through the process, people realize it’s not as ugly as it seems. Yeah. And when and you discover so much, though, this is it, you talk about both as to and in, like lean or other manufacturing type things. You know, when you start to look at a process, you’re in detailed steps,

you really understand that a lot of the work that we do is unnecessary, or it’s not really doing what we want, I think you guys probably uncover a lot of that when you’re in those situations, for sure.

Kelly Schaefbauer 32:22
And I’m with a company I’m working with right now, where there’s a whole lot of, you know, we’re like, because there was a lot of turnover. So I’m dealing with the people that are there now. And we are going through this stuff, and it’s like, I’m not under, I’m not connecting the dots, I love that I use that all the time. You have to connect the dots on here. Why is this happening like this? And they’re just like, I don’t know. And then we talked to another, there’s, there’s some process that connects departments, oh, they just figured somebody on the other department on the other end needed that? Well, then we go and talk to them. And they’re like, I don’t know what you’re talking about. So so there is that happening all the time, as far as you know, just doing it because that’s the way it’s been done. But again, I think you have to start changing the managers mindsets, to be about innovation. And we use the term continuous improvement, again, as an annual exercise that’s done as a management team. So we really hold in high regard. If your company, if you’re part of a company’s management team, that’s an honor, you should feel that. And then there’s requirements to it. And one of them is we do an annual strategic planning process where we reevaluate your departments functions with that theory of constraints. So that methodology to prove through constraints, and then it keeps that fresh, where you know, where we’re continually going to look at at least in a 12 month cycle. If we need to keep that process or improve it or you know, replace it. So especially with the way technology moves so fast I’m I’m like I said I love bookkeeping as an example for this stuff. And I’m, you know, I use QuickBooks Online. People love it, hate it versus desktop, all of this, but QuickBooks Online, some of the automation that’s happening with it, I think is fantastic. And it’s kind of changing the way people are bookkeeping. I think it I think more of that’s coming. It’s starting to utilize a little bit of AI. So it’s looking at transactions or receipts and trying to decide how it should be done. So I think with technology, that keeping fresh what’s happening, especially in service delivery, as well, yeah, I think you know, managers have to look at their industry and be industry experts. Um, as part of that service delivery?

Damon Pistulka 35:03
Yeah. Oh, yeah. Especially when you’re looking at the way that, just like you said, AI and other things are changing, customer service changing, you know, even simple scheduling of service, and allowing, you know, more self serve options in a business and, and how that really helps your business deliver more satisfaction to the customers, there’s so much of that, that, that continuous look at how you’re doing things. Yeah. And, and really understanding a what, what is my customer value? And how can we give them more of that? And not? Or how can we do that and be more efficient in delivering whatever we’re delivering. There’s so many opportunities in that for those managers that you said that develop that continuous improvement mindset, because there is gold. In almost every business, I’m sure there’s some there’s not? Yeah, if the managers take that mindset and really understand how they can get get their customers more and be more efficient overall.

Kelly Schaefbauer 36:09
Yeah, Zoom has changed. Absolutely. The way that we service our clients, you know, we do a thing called a show and tell where we will sit down with a department manager and members of their team, and we just we start the recording going, and we just say, show us what you do. We don’t, you know, we don’t take notes we don’t do, we’re just asking clarifying questions, and just your screens, their screen is showing, and then we send that up to one of our analysts, and they document it, ya know, for them just based on that recording, it’s, it’s, it’s awesome, we really realized that documentation will get done if the person who does the work doesn’t have to do the documentation. There you

Damon Pistulka 36:55
go. That is the mic drop moment right there. That is a mic drop from a documentation will get done if the person doing the work doesn’t have to do the document. Yeah.

Kelly Schaefbauer 37:06
Yeah, we record we’re even doing what’s more of a physical job, where they’re all over it, come up with a camcorder and record it. And then we’ll go back and watch the replay things. And it’s great with zoom with more information workers. It’s fantastic for doing that. It’s like I said, it’s really allowed us to really have this, we’re or someone on your team or your manager can do the same thing with their team members to just use Zoom and record. I record every one of our meetings, every one of our client meetings, we do status update meetings, I think recording and being able to go back and reference is fantastic technology.

Yeah, yeah. And even with some of the AI transcription tools now to you can help to, if you’re asking the right questions, it’ll it’ll write a lot of it for you for sure. Yep. Yeah. Cool stuff. So what are some of the exciting things that you’re seeing now, in business and technology, that when you’re talking about a line, and people and purpose and process and really giving them the tools to scale? Yeah, yeah.

Kelly Schaefbauer 38:13
You know, it’s one of our focuses lately has been beyond really to connect what we do to up an engagement and a positive experience for for the workforce? You know, I really feel like that’s we really connected with the coaching community. Where are we talking about competencies, really three elements to competency, knowledge, skill in that engagement piece, their experience? You know, what’s their mindset? What’s their state of mind in that workplace? Is it one of fulfillment? Or is it one of frustration? You know, we’re great at the knowledge and skill requirements from our task inventory, but there is that piece that we’re not good at, but we’re really trying to connect with a coaching community, where they’re good at understanding things like conflict resolution, and, you know, being supportive and kind of more of that. Interpersonal skills, we really want to connect to that world because I think if you can bring that whole knowledge skill development with somebody who’s really has the right frame of mind, in the workplace, that’s golden, you know, I it’s good for everybody. Really, it’s good for that person. It’s good for that manager. And it’s really good for business owners, you know, to have that sort of positive mentality. In and again, that’s why that’s not us. But we’re really making an effort lately, to partner with good coaches that understand strengths. I love the strengths finder stuff, the Gallup strengths. I really bought into that that’s kind of really where my, I used to be thinking, if you’re good at art. stuff, you don’t need coaches, you don’t need that stuff. But now I’m really realizing it’s really about that whole person and their well being. But it does start with clarity with, they know their responsibilities, their requirements. They’re trained on it. So that’s where we feel our value is. But there’s always going to be conflict, and there’s going to be, you know, a right way to interact with people in language, that sort of thing. And that’s just not us.

Damon Pistulka 40:28
Yeah, yeah. Well, that’s you, you’re staying in your skill set and in your area of expertise, and in addressing the whole person by hat and bringing others in when it’s appropriate. That’s yeah, that’s cool. Well, Kelly, it’s been awesome to get to talk to you today. And just hearing you speak about, I really liked the way that you guys are helping people. And we didn’t talk about your trellis software that you guys have developed with an app where you just go from tasks to, you know, rolling it up, and then and then your training element behind it. So much good there to really help get these businesses ready to, like you said, go from frustrating frustration to fulfilling for the owners and the people working there. So if people want to get a hold of you, Kelly, what’s the best way to get a hold of you?

Kelly Schaefbauer 41:24
You know, we did actually go through a name change, you know, where we were aligned to operations. You know, operations is a very confusing word we found. We’re really more about management. So we’re now aligned management. Partners. On our website, I’m easy to find. There’s not a lot of Kelly chef powers out there on LinkedIn. So you know, I’m 100%. German born on St. Patrick’s Day. So that’s why all right. Yeah. So yeah, that’s usually the easiest is, you know, for me on LinkedIn, and we can go from there.

Damon Pistulka 42:00
Yeah. So your website is, again, I want to one more time get out of the line management partners are lined Aligned Yep.

Kelly Schaefbauer 42:10
And trellis is a separate company that I’m a partner in that’s developing the app that really makes a lot of these practices. more straightforward. It helps that facilitation of those things that’s really part of our mission, is if we make it easier for people, they’re more likely to do it.

Damon Pistulka 42:30
And that is trellis, as well. So aligned and trellis Or reach out to Kelly shape Bauer on LinkedIn and directly. Kelly, thank you so much for being here today. Absolutely. My pleasure was fun. Yeah. Awesome. Awesome. Getting to talk to you. And thanks, everyone, for being here today. I

really appreciate the comments. And those of you that didn’t comment. Thanks for listening. If you’ve got any questions for Kelly, like said reach out on LinkedIn and talk to him, and we will be back again next week. Have a great weekend. Everyone Kelly hang out for just a moment.

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