Making sure the right props are in the right place at the right time is an important job in theatre or film (check out The Goes Wrong Show for what happens when it’s not done well).
It’s an important job in business too, although it’s rarely considered as such. More often than not it turns into everybody’s job, which makes it nobody’s job, which makes it something that doesn’t happen consistently.
The answer is to think through the process your business runs (how you Share your Promise, and How you Keep your Promise) from beginning to end. As you do, you’ll identify where each business prop is used or referred to. Once you know this you can start to automate the ‘Stage Manager’ role.
Most importantly, you’ll see where it is easiest to create each prop, because that’s where the information it embodies is naturally and easily gathered.
As far as possible, you want this to happen as a side-effect of doing what people want to do anyway. This is why cloud accounting is such a brilliant thing. Clients do what they do – raise invoices, pay bills, log expenses, manage bank accounts. The side effect of all this is that all the props needed to produce a VAT return or monthly management reports are ready and waiting for the accountant to work with.
Where this isn’t possible, sharing the text of the play (your process) makes the downstream impact visible.
Salespeople, for example, are notoriously rubbish at logging client details, even though they are the people who naturally have all the information to hand. That’s because they don’t feel the impact on what comes after them. From a business perspective a sale isn’t complete until the customer has received what they paid for and is happy with it.
That means that, like the bricklayer’s labourer, part of what every salesperson produces is the productivity of the people down the line.
Your business is like a play. Each role in your business contributes to the productivity of the whole play. Recognise that in the way you reward people, and you’ve created an incentive for improvement.