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The PPT Triangle: A Blueprint for Success in Business Systems and Processes

The secret to effective systems is found in a tried-and-true model – the PPT triangle.

Originally developed in the 1960s, this model is used by many technology companies and has a proven track record of success.

It consists of 3 sides that work together holistically: process, people, and tools.

Processes

Your processes are “how you do things.”

Good processes are customized to your business, well-documented, current, and relevant.

Processes give you consistency, predictability, leverage.

People

Your people operate your business.

Often one of the largest cost centres, you want to attract, retain, and motivate a great team of people to do good work.

When you take a systematic approach to people, you can expect your teams to be productive, engaged, and learning new skills.

Tools

Tools are the cherry on top.

Tools augment what you’re already doing, so implement these last.

Tools augment both your processes and your people by providing efficiency, speed, and data accessibility.

How to implement the triangle

The secret to a successful PPT implementation is to start by focusing on processes.

Many business leaders make the mistake of believing that tools alone are the answer.

They see flashy software with a colorful dashboard at a vendor conference or trade show, or perhaps they observe a competitor using it.

They believe this tool will solve all their problems and immediately purchase it, often without fully understanding how it fits into their overall business strategy.

Other business leaders believe that hiring a successful general manager from another company will instantly bring success to their business.

They may even try to poach this individual with the expectation that they will single-handedly create and run effective systems. However, the reality is that the people who establish systems are rarely the ones who will run them.

Processes: define and document how you do things

Processes are your clearly defined ways of doing things. They are documented and easily accessible to all employees.

When processes are installed correctly, the business runs smoothly and consistently.

Customers come to know what to expect from the business, leading to a more predictable experience.

We don’t eat at McDonald’s because they have an amazing product. We eat there because we know what we’re going to get.

This consistency extends to marketing, sales, fulfillment, billing, and collections, reducing friction and improving overall customer satisfaction.

By having a predictable and consistent business, you can turn your attention to growth and scale because you are no longer constantly fighting fires and dealing with chaos.

5 keys to developing great processes:

  • Don’t have too many of them. Focus on the 80% that make up your core and start with the 20% that are essential.
  • Keep processes up to date and relevant – not collecting dust on a shelf somewhere – measure against them and improve them over time.
  • Keep offers simple: avoid options, complexity, and customizations.
  • Reduce the number of offers – I sometimes walk into businesses that offer dozens of different services (key cutting, selling furniture, grooming dogs, etc.) – of course they can’t document their processes – they never do the same thing twice!
  • Include your employees when developing process so that they have a hand in creating them and so that you get buy-in.

People: use your processes to create a self-healing system

Involved and engaged employees are your key to success.

Our goal with people is to create a self-healing system.

The gears of the system are the employees, who are interchangeable and play a crucial role in ensuring that the system runs smoothly.

If one gear fails, the system is designed to self-correct and get back on track.

No department should be isolated – they should all be integrated into the overall system.

This system starts with a basic checklist of tasks and evolves over time. When you give each person clear roles and responsibilities, they gain a better understanding of what is expected of them.

When a self-healing system is in place, the role of the business leader shifts from being an enforcer to a facilitator.

By being part of an interconnected system with clear processes and guidelines, employees can excel in their roles without constant supervision.

This empowers them to take ownership of their work and achieve their goals, leading to a more productive and engaged workforce.

An effective system can also reduce mundane tasks for employees, allowing them to focus on high-leverage activities that drive value for the business.

By streamlining processes and automating low-value tasks, employees are freed up to pursue more meaningful work.

When you do this right, the roles of your business leaders shift from being enforcers to being mentors and coaches.

Instead of keeping employees in line, the manager is now focused on helping them grow and achieve their goals.

This creates a more positive and rewarding work environment for leaders, managers, and the employees, leading to stronger relationships and long-term success for the business.

In addition, by focusing on helping employees make more money and achieve their career goals, everyone is now on the same side of the table, working together towards a common goal.

Tools: increase your efficiency and speed while gathering useful data

Tools, including software and technology, allow you to optimize your existing processes.

With the right tools, you can centralize communication in one place, rather than scattered across emails and inboxes, provides visibility and clarity.

In addition, you can set up alerts to notify you when specific parameters are met, like when a lead hasn’t been changed in status within 48 hours.

Tools don’t need to be complicated or highly technical – they just need to help get the job done. I work with a lot of blue-collar businesses, and we often start with something as simple as a form to fill in. Later, once the tool has proven useful and become accepted, we can develop a digital version to increase accuracy and ensure standardization.

One of the biggest benefits to implementing digital tools is that they provide a wealth of data to aid your management and decision-making.

Can you quickly and easily access up-to-date reports of your key performance indicators (KPIs)? For example, do you know the top three costs in your business and which segments are the most profitable? Can you track the status of your employees and projects and know who is on schedule, behind, or not meeting expectations?

A lack of data and reporting can lead to a reliance on gut instincts, which can be unreliable. By having a clear and visible dashboard, you can monitor the progress of your business and make informed decisions.

When we have access to this level of data reporting, we can identify “levers” to pull that can massively increase results.

Implementing the PPT Triangle approach can be a game-changer for your business.

By focusing on the three key components of People, Process, and Technology, you can create a strong foundation for optimized business operations.

Whether you’re looking to improve efficiency, increase productivity, or maximize profitability, the PPT Triangle provides a comprehensive framework for success.

By taking a holistic approach to business systems and processes, you can streamline your operations, reduce waste, and achieve your business goals with confidence.

If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, we’re here to help.

We have years of experience helping businesses like yours optimize their operations and achieve their goals. So why wait?

Contact us now to schedule your consultation!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jean-Eric Plamondon

Founder and Systems Strategist at Growth Strategies.

Serial entrepreneur with direct experience launching, growing, & selling a number of businesses including scaling a scrap metal business from $0 to $5 Million in 6 months.

Certified Management Consultant and Value Builder Advisor. Author of the Boring Business Manifesto.

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