5.2.2 – The Business Coach Presentation Layer
The business coach presentation layer is all about presenting your systems in a way that an honest human with a functional brain can follow. You won’t believe how many times I have gone into a business to help them and found their checklists so filled with jargon that no one has any idea what the crap is going on. In one specific situation I recall, I went into a cosmetic surgeon’s office and found he had created jargon for every aspect of his business. Everything was BVD, ACT, MVP, etc. After spending a day with his team, I realized that all of the jargon had been created by a man who no longer worked at his office and the owner didn’t even know what the jargon stood for. The staff just checked the boxes on the checklists every day because they thought that would keep them from getting in trouble. It was absolute jackassery (from the root word “jackass”). You must present your systems and checklists in a way that your team will actually implement and execute on a daily basis. If you don’t do this, it’s going to be a disaster.
“Acronyms Seriously Suck: There is a creeping tendency to use made up acronyms at SpaceX. Excessive use of made up acronyms is a significant impediment to communication and keeping communication good as we grow is incredibly important. Individually, a few acronyms here and there may not seem so bad, but if a thousand people are making these up, over time the result will be a huge glossary that we have to issue to new employees. No one can actually remember all these acronyms and people don’t want to seem dumb in a meeting, so they just sit there in ignorance. This is particularly tough on new employees. That needs to stop immediately or I will take drastic action—I have given enough warnings over the years. Unless an acronym is approved by me, it should not enter the SpaceX glossary. If there is an existing acronym that cannot reasonably be justified, it should be eliminated, as I have requested in the past.”-Elon Musk (An e-mail his sent to his team in May of 2010)
Think about Jiffy Lube or McDonald’s. They have a created repeatable systems so simple that I think even my small brain could execute them. When you go into Jiffy Lube they simply click from screen to screen and say, “Sir, your manufacturer recommends that you change your air filter every ‘x’ number of miles. Sir, your windshield wipers look as though they are worn. Sir, it looks as though your air coolant is low, however we can top that off for $4.00 today if you would like.”
I mean no disrespect when I say this, but those dudes get me for $176 every time I come in for the $19 oil change. I love it. They have a built a very effective business coach presentation layer at Jiffy Lube. Go there and you will see what I’m talking about.
“Good checklists, on the other hand are precise. They are efficient, to the point, and easy to use even in the most difficult situations. They do not try to spell out everything–a checklist cannot fly a plane. Instead, they provide reminders of only the most critical and important steps–the ones that even the highly skilled professional using them could miss. Good checklists are, above all, practical.” -Atul Gawande (The bestselling author of The Checklist Manifesto, a surgeon and a professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School)
This is why Steve Jobs absolutely nailed it with the iPad, the iPod, and the iPhone. He recognized that people were not rejecting technology enhancements designed to make their life easier and more efficient; they were rejecting the format in which the technology was being delivered. He and his team watched humans interact with technology and they developed the iPod as a device that a non-nerd would love to use (with all due respect to the nerds reading this). He and his team focused on developing products that would be easy to use by almost anybody. You didn’t have to know code or how to be a computer hacker to use the products they developed. My six-year-old daughter Scarlett has figured out how to text her Grandma and we have never had a conversation or training or an all-day workshop to show her how. The design of smartphones is so intuitive that she just figured it out.
“Good management consists in showing average people how to do the work of superior people.” -John D. Rockefeller (The self-made millionaire who went on to become the world’s wealthiest man after having dropped out of high school to support his family)
As you are designing your business coach presentation layer, you must keep your consumer and your team members in mind. Watch them use the business coach systems you create and be 100% COMMITTED TO CREATING A REPEATABLE PROCESS THAT WORKS; do not get emotional about whether your presentation is right or not. If your team can’t figure out your systems, you must keep redesigning them until anybody who is diligent and honest can figure them out.
“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” -Steve Jobs (Co-founder of Apple and the former CEO of Pixar)
My friend, if you want to nail this, you must go through the time consuming hassle of actually watching your team try to use the systems you created. If they can’t figure it out, that means your system is too complex. Who is old enough to remember the original Apple computers? You had to actually load in a floppy disk and type in lines of code to get that computer to do anything. It was painful and so the majority of the planet rejected them. Now that operating a computer has become a much more simplified task, everyone is using one. Remember that the entire reason you are creating systems is to establish a scalable way to add value to your customers and make COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF MONEY FOR YOU.