Wendy Hanson 0:24
Are you a fast growing organization needing to make sure that you can scale as you go forward? Listen to this podcast that I did with Teresa Truong Beretta. It is brilliant about all the things that we can do, and it will give you some hints on how to get started. So listen in. It's awesome. Welcome to our podcast today. It's very exciting to have somebody who is identified as a left brainer by her own skills and ability. So I'm so happy to have to Risa Truong Beretta here with me today. And we're going to talk about things that all businesses need. But you know, if you're an entrepreneurial company and you're growing up and you're becoming a midsize company, it becomes critical and crucial to your business success and productivity. So let me introduce Teresa. Teresa is an operations Coach substant combination of coaching consultant, and client experience extraordinaire with a knack for things left brained, including organizing, strategizing and systemising, making her an ideal fit for right brain creative CEO clients. Well, that's a perfect combination to help me today looking through some of these issues. Through our 18 plus years experience, Teresa works with creative consultants and strategists to streamline and systemize their online operations to run the right way with or without their direct involvement. Teresa wanted the flexibility to spend time with her family and the freedom to serve in her passion, creating, designing and refining systems for other types of businesses. So welcome to Risa. I'm so excited to have you here.
Theresa Baretta 2:07
Yes, thank you so much for having me here. Wendy, I'm glad to be able to be here and have this discussion with you.
Wendy Hanson 2:13
Well, I was so excited after our prep preparation talk, that there were so many things that you were working on that were you know, companies now are in kind of a hybrid situation. Some are totally remote, some are back in the office, which makes having process and policies and standards, even more important to keep everybody on the same page. And even BetterManager we're growing very fast. And we need to stand back and look at some of our systems. So I'm very selfish today looking at this as a great way to be able to get some help with how what are some things that we should be doing a BetterManager?
Theresa Baretta 2:51
Yes, absolutely. And you know what, it's always a work in progress, right? In every in every step that we are leveling up in, or we are just growing more in, it's always going to be something that we can take forward with us no matter what.
Wendy Hanson 3:08
Yeah. And how do we bring it always to that next level? Because what worked before is not always going to work in the future. We've got to keep keep growing and changing. So we're so glad to have your expertise here today.
Theresa Baretta 3:20
Wendy Hanson 3:22
So tell me, how did you get started on this journey of being so passionate about operations and systems?
Theresa Baretta 3:29
Yes. Well, you know, I always wonder, looking back to my origin story, what kind of triggered at all and I would probably say that I contribute that to my experience when my parents had started their own Vietnamese noodle shops restaurant. And that was where I first got into the world of operations and how to really run a business from front to end. And I gotta tell you, when we first started, we were a huge mess. Our food was amazing. The customers loved our food, but they did not like our services. And so that was when I was kind of like, Okay, what can I do to better improve this, this, this clunkiness and to be able to have those repeat customers coming back, and they're going to enjoy the experience over and over again. And so that was where I just started, you know, going out into other restaurants, other worlds really like just glancing behind the scenes, studied them for hours in the restaurant on how they were serving, how they were, you know, working together with each other and how to best like get that smile from their clients. And so I brought that back into my own restaurant and within three months, we were able to streamline a lot of the processes. You know, staff front front end staff knew what to do knew how to, you know, show up serve our clients and within three months, we were able to Hold on three different lunch turnovers, and have repeat customers that were coming back week over week, but also sometimes twice a week. And so that was what ignited everything for me and just continued on throughout my career and into my entrepreneurial journey as well.
Wendy Hanson 5:18
Yes. And I love your example of your own family's noodle shop, because businesses business, right, no matter what we're serving, if we're if we're serving up coaching to people, if we're serving up notice to people, there has to be a system. So I love that. And I love also I think people don't always tend to go out and do what you did look at other restaurants and see what is making them successful. What were a couple of the things that you notice somewhere else that you said, Oh, we need to do this?
Theresa Baretta 5:48
Yes, exactly. You know, like, the best guiding principle was I went to my favorite restaurants that I would go to week over week, and I would just sit there for like two or three hours, like, you know, deep in the evenings, but at least it was able to allow me to really like analyze, you know, what really worked well, and bring that back into my business.
Wendy Hanson 6:09
Yeah, that's great. And I love that your learnings can be put into any business at all. So what are some of the scenarios that you've seen systems that are used effectively in the workplace, and we work with a lot of tech companies and and all of this, whether it's whether it's noodles, technology, whether you're putting out websites, it really is all the same, we've got to communicate better, we have to have a process for things and, and be consistent. So tell me a little bit about those scenarios that you've seen really helpful.
Theresa Baretta 6:39
Yes, and like yourself, I've worked with numerous SAS companies as well. And in their early stages, and growing, you know, at exponential rate. And over and over again, what I found was that there was a reinventing of the wheel constantly. And so a lot of the different things that I was seeing alongside or was a byproduct of reinventing the wheel was that nothing was being done in the same manner, the experience varied from customer to customer. And so it wasn't as consistent. And so what we ended up doing was really envisioning most of all on how a ideal system or process would work, what is the the experience that we would want to have, you know, felt and established. And through that, that's where we were able to design the appropriate systems, processes standards, so that we can then repeat it over and over again, and lessen the reinventing of the wheel, a lot of the different things is to move away from customization as well. And like, you know, the one offs into more of a standardized commitment, or what I'd like to see as a productized element as well, especially if you're in a tech industry or in the service oriented industry is that you want to be able to have something that is can be done by anyone on the team as well. Right. And so that's some of the different scenarios I have seen throughout the course of working with different companies. And even as consultants or even as managers in a middle sized company, sometimes we lose sight of that as well, especially if we have numerous different types, or caliber of clients coming through as well. But if you have a strong enough foundations for your standards, for your services for your systems, it can be be unique elements that you would you know, bridge with your clients would just be that cherry on top, but you will have the confidence of that baseline with any services or any engagements that you have. Yeah, oh,
Wendy Hanson 8:51
I love what you're pointing to. Because customization can be the death of a of a company that's trying to grow and really scale. If every time we have to do it, it looks a little bit different. We're not going to be able to scale that.
Unknown Speaker 9:05
Yeah, yes. Yes.
Wendy Hanson 9:07
So one of the things that you talk about a lot are SOPs, standard operating procedures, and how do you what roles do they play in a company and give us some real specific ideas of, of where SOPs really make a difference on a team?
Theresa Baretta 9:23
Yes, absolutely. If I were to be able to peel it back, if I were able to peel it back, and, you know, take a look from a 30,000 foot view on what is the best impact that SOPs can do. It is truly at the team training level. And so SOPs are super important, especially when you are onboarding new team members. Or if you have a succession plan in place. So if you're you're elevating an existing team member into a different role and you need to backfill that role, you don't Lose the knowledge of that role completely. And if anything, the transition of that knowledge becomes much more easy and much more fluent. And in alignment with your overall business values, the mission and the vision as well. Because sometimes when someone is training their backfills, or you know, their, their, the replacements, they can also train in the wrong way as well. So by having the SOPs, they are going to be training based upon the best practices, the guiding principles that you want to see this new team member to be operating in alongside your business. So SOP is not just only provide ideal training, but it also allows the new team member to ramp up really fast. So instead of spending six months in order to get like, you know, familiar with their, their new functions and responsibilities, they may be up to speed within three months, and then have the capacity to be able to take on more, or be able to step up in other areas in the business as well. And so SOPs are crucial, especially if you are considering to grow exponentially, or if you are ready to grow your team at at a faster speed.
Wendy Hanson 11:19
Yeah. And if if a company was designing an SOP, you know, because we needed to duplicate, maybe a position inside a company, what a part of what are some of the components of an SOP? Are you putting in some visuals in there? Or even some video how tos, like what are the different pieces? Yes,
Theresa Baretta 11:39
well, that's the beautiful thing about technology these days is it allows us to have access to some of these other elements that we can really draw in to power up the SOPs and the training functionalities. And so usually, when we build out an SOP, the first thing that I always keep in mind, and I always reiterate as well as keep it simple. So the first thing we always want to do is make sure that we are recording doing a screen a video capture of what it is that we do taking the process from front to end, so that we can see it in real time. But also to be able to document it in simple steps. So I always say what's the top five most important steps of that SOP that we want to target. And then we would be able to break it out? in words as well. Because, you know, if humans we all have different ways of learning somewhere visual somewhere, audio in somewhere, because, you know, learning through some of the other tracks, I forgot the other word, but if somebody are watching somebody, and then they can see it. Yeah. So we have to hit all the modalities. Great. That's right. That's right. And so you know, it's just about a combination of those elements, and having some of those screenshots, especially if it's some very intricate steps that we can't miss. So that's when we would bring those elements in. But the biggest important thing that we want to make sure we capture in an SOP is the why, why are we doing this step? Or why is this special? Pete? Why does this SOP exist? Because when someone comes in, it's not just about doing the tasks, but it's about understanding the importance of that task or that step. And so those are the elements that usually I walk clients or businesses through in how to design their SOPs.
Wendy Hanson 13:28
That's great. And then the why we use that in coaching all the time managers that are good managers, explain the why. Because if people understand that, then they're able to get lined up with that even from a neuroscience perspective, I understand. I can fill in gaps better if I understand the why. And I'm not just following roughly what you told me to do.
Theresa Baretta 13:49
Exactly, exactly. And it also empowers that thought process and the problem solving side of, you know, employees or the team members, right,
Wendy Hanson 13:58
saying it's a full time position. You know, this is going to be a hard random question to ask you. But you know, how many SOPs would be in there, say you're at a customer experience position, like you would have a number of SOPs according to what that person's role is in the organization. Can you speak to that a little bit, Teresa?
Theresa Baretta 14:18
Oh, absolutely. And this one is going to be a variable, right based upon the size of the business. But you know, in a startup, especially in a client experience role, you can have easily up to 30 SOPs, just for that one role or function. Right. And it just depends on the nature of the business. If your business is fairly simple and straightforward, you may not see 30 but if you have more intricate steps compliancy for example, check and balances, then you might be seeing much more in depth SOPs as well and some of those SOPs may be drawn up more than five steps, but we would see an average of roughly 30. That's for each role.
Wendy Hanson 15:05
Yes. Okay, that helps. So it just so that people don't combine a number of things that are in there and put them all in an SOP. You want to have simple steps, you know, sometimes there are just five steps, there are visuals, and then there may be up to 30 or more for a full role so that somebody can learn the job. Great. All right. Now, another thing you talk about, besides us Opie's to get us all on the same page and communicating is playbooks. So what's the difference between SOPs and playbooks? Yes, absolutely. Great
Theresa Baretta 15:37
question. Because there is a distinction between the two SOPs, I consider would be more of job aids, right? It allows you to it helps you complete your tasks and functions with efficiency and effectiveness. Whereas playbook gives you more of the high level view from front to end. And it could potentially house in the SOPs. But in a specific order. So think of it as in, you know, if you were in a sales process, you know, like what happens at the lead stage? What are you looking for some of the KPIs or outputs that you're looking to, to achieve. And then after, if the lead converts, you go into the sales process, what includes in your sales process, if you're in a coaching company, you would need to make sure that the contract is signed, any initial payments are collected in a welcome emails, next steps. And going through the onboarding sequence. And the playbook can actually house all of those various elements throughout those, that area, as you can say, playbooks can also include specific areas of business, for example, if you are looking for a team performance, and how to really manage that in the HR perspective, you can have a team performance playbook, it houses a lot of those different functions, steps, but also can house policies as well, so that you can go back and reference the best practices.
Wendy Hanson 17:14
Great. And what if you're now going to get granular again? And what in your experience? What? Where are these playbooks house, you know, like a lot of people use the G Suite. And then we use that all the time in terms of Google Docs and Google Slides, or there's Dropbox, there's all kinds of things, where would you how's this playbook so that everybody could access it? What are some different ideas for that? Yes, great
Theresa Baretta 17:39
question. And really will depend on how you have structured and trained your team to live in. So if you are living in Google Drive, for example, for 60% of the business day, then you will likely want to house your playbook there because then people will be able to search for it. They understand how to use Google suite, the Google Drive and know how to search for it. And so when you build out your playbooks, you would then build it out in this specific manner. So that it can also be text. searchable, right. And found in there with specific tags or keywords. If you are living more in a project management tool, such as clickup, or Asana, or some of the other bigger tool names out there Monday, for example, you would want to be able to house your playbooks in there if it has a document functionality in there. So art, my team uses clickup. And so we house our playbook in the click up function using the docs. And so, you know, it's just where your team is operating in mostly. Now. You know, another thought would be if you are a coaching company, and you have you have a lot of your content on a member portal or platform, then you may want to explore housing your playbook in there and having new team members or existing team members go in there on a yearly basis or when they first joined the team and go through it as if it was a course as well. And so that could also be one of those training paths that you can implement into your roles and the the the various teams that you have. Great.
Wendy Hanson 19:31
So if I'm getting this right, we have the SOPs could be part of the playbook. And we speak to a lot of managers. You know, we've coached over 4000 managers at BetterManager. And we know that everybody has this challenge of how do I get my team all on the same page? How do I communicate? How do I make sure that we're not reinventing the wheel every time? So what is a manager specifically, if somebody is listening to this and they say, wow, this is good. idea and I really don't have the setup in this way as playbooks and SOPs. What are the first steps? And how do they get, you know, if we use this scenario, or I'm a manager, and I have five people on my team, what would be the first few steps that they would take to start working on this process? And you may have a client that you've worked with before, that you can use as an example here?
Theresa Baretta 20:22
Yes, absolutely, absolutely. So I'll just go back to my example of the SAS company, right. And so you know, when I was working with my SAS client, you know, there was some documentation in place, some were really outdated as well. And so the question became, well, how can we get started on this? And we're, how can we kind of really build it right into the culture. And I think whenever we're on this track of, you know, designing a playbook, it actually starts with the culture first. So as managers, in order for our team to buy into this, that, you know, this type of culture, we need to lead it first. So it's about encompassing the system's mindset first. So in everything that we're doing, or approaching or designing or bringing in as new, it's also about, okay, how can we bring this into a playbook so that we have something to start with? Now, with that being said, you know, if you just want to be able to design the playbook with your existing operations and processes, the best way to start is to just come together as a team, and ask Where is the biggest need right now? What are we doing differently that varies from team member to team member, and that would probably give you that path forward to start from somewhere. Now, let's say, let's use the client experience, again, as an example. So let's say I have two Customer Success specialists. And they're onboarding clients differently. And one is onboarding with exceptional results. And one is onboarding with some challenges. And so what we would want to do is kind of bring those two processes together by first documenting the SOPs. And then we designed the playbook with the best practices on, on how to lead with the client experience realm. So we would draw from what was positive. And then we would also outline what would be some of the risks and then embed them, and then that would become a part of the playbook. And then what we would do is house those two team members together and walk through each client together for the first few rounds in this new playbook implementation. And then once that's established, we give it a final go and say, This is the way now. And culturally we need to have that buy in again on Hey, let's make sure that we are following the playbook. Oh, we're hitting this challenge. Let's check the playbook and what it says. And so it's just drawing the team back into that cultural mindset of following the playbook or the standards or the SOPs.
Wendy Hanson 23:02
That I love that. And when you when you talk about the culture, too, if everybody understands the why, and the culture, and they have the playbook, they can still, you know, tweak it to really meet the customer where they are, but all be doing the same thing. And I could see the benefit of having two people that have been working a little bit differently with different results come together. And there may be something that both people are doing that really works well. So combining those two so that you have a collaborative effort of putting something together, and then everybody's on the same page.
Theresa Baretta 23:37
That's right. That's right.
Wendy Hanson 23:39
Yeah. Oh, that's, that's great. And I think, you know, there are a lot of people that are very skilled in project management, and then you know, when you start moving too fast, especially in entrepreneurial startup companies, and then you have to get to that next level of kind of a mid level company, you really need to put your focus on this.
Theresa Baretta 23:58
Yes, that's right, because it can grow so fast that we lose that foundation. Right? And still, that playbook becomes that North North Star compass, to draw us back to to keep our eyes on, and to be able to better improve upon. Yeah.
Wendy Hanson 24:14
And without that, you just can't scale. And that's, I think that's going to be one of the hardest things of as companies grow. And we have great models of companies that are so big already. You know, I spent my early years coaching at Google when they were a small company, but we're still pretty big. And they had all these processes. And they, you know, they had great engineers that looked at things and set up a process. And I can see there's, there's other startups that are very just, you know, rip roaring and trying to make things happen quickly, and they are not aware of SOPs and playbooks and at least or not using them consistently and developing them because I love the way that you approach the development of it. And we can always go back to the story of the noodle restaurant. Yes, and How you had to do it there, and then how it works for a SaaS company or any kind of company.
Theresa Baretta 25:05
That's right. That's right. And the key element is to keep using it. I think a lot of companies will start the process, but then let it collect dust. And then by the time they hit their next ceiling, they it's, they have to restart the process, because it's no longer relevant. And so I see this a lot in various companies. And so the question is, or sorry, the concept is, if you are constantly leveraging your playbook, then you will never be at the state where you have to reboot everything
Wendy Hanson 25:36
at that next level. And what's your recommendation for that? How do you keep it to do make sure that you all review it every month or every quarter? What's the best way to set up a system around that to keep it updated?
Theresa Baretta 25:49
Yes, so what I typically always encourage is set up a six month check in. So if you are managing a specific area of business, then make sure that like you know you haven't pre scheduled in, have it as a calendar item where it's recurring every six months, and then really executing on it right, when you are setting up your recurring calendar appointment, make sure you embed your link in there. So that way you can easily access it. Because you know, when whenever we are reviewing something, it's very easy to kind of pass it off or to defer it because it may not necessarily feel as important. But as you continue to grow as you continue to add people to your team, or that you are expanding into various locations, for example, or bigger clients, you'll always want to be able to honor your playbook and your foundations and continue to grow it from there.
Wendy Hanson 26:49
Yeah, oh, that's great. That that really makes sense that you know, in order to keep it alive, because we hear this all the time that you know what we used to do this, but you know, we're not, we're not quite paying attention to it anymore. So we have to make sure if a company was going to call you to do some consulting with you, Teresa, which I know you do, because of all your experience with SAS companies and things, what would be the first steps that they would follow to be able to work with you?
Theresa Baretta 27:17
Yes, so I have my own process for that. And usually it goes through a discovery process call first, to make sure that one that you know, they are at the right caliber where you know, they're ready to have those changes or to have those updates, because on a CEO level, for example, or the executive teams, they may be feeling it, but the team might not be ready for it. And so it's really important to kind of see where the business is in that journey. And so we'll kind of uncover it through the discovery process or, you know, through the discovery process, if we feel that the there is actually a different track that they need to complete first. So for example, if it's a startup, maybe they need to get some cash flow in first before they really like bring on a consultant to, you know, flush through a lot of their operations now, for example, right, then we'll have those discussions and those short takeaways. After the discuss the discovery process, that's where we'll go into a proposal or at least defining what the the the program looks like. And then continue forward with the onboarding process. So as long as we had, that's how we would start the consulting engagement.
Wendy Hanson 28:34
Yeah, great. Because I think it's important for people to know how they could you know, access this information, if it just it's like, well, I could do it. But it makes more sense. If I, if I have a thought partner, somebody is going to leave me on the way. And, of course, I knew you had your own playbook for this because you practice what you preach. Yes. So you have what your what's your system is going forward?
Theresa Baretta 28:57
Wendy Hanson 28:59
Now, if people want to learn more about the work that you do, or get in touch with you, what's the best way for them to do that? Theresa? Yes, the
Theresa Baretta 29:07
Yes, the best way to find more information is just through my website. So it is looplinkinc.com.
Wendy Hanson 29:27
And I also know when we were doing some research before and before we set you up as a guest. You have some great YouTube videos also.
Theresa Baretta 29:35
Yes, that is correct. So I do have a YouTube channel where I do talk a lot more on these different types of tracks and topics. So there are content around client onboarding clients off boarding, CEO leadership, and how to lead a team and various elements as of that as well. Great.
Wendy Hanson 29:57
Well, if they go your website, I'm sure they'll find All this information, yes. And we'll have, we'll have links in our show notes for everybody who's listening so that they will be able to find you easy and see you on social media because you do a real good job there. That's why we were able to connect with you and make sure that we could take your knowledge and share it with all the managers and HR people and l&d people out there that say, ah, we need to clean up our ship here and get things going and have SOPs have playbooks and know where they all are, know now that you have to update them every six months, we've gone through that at BetterManager. We have a really good training program for coaches that we bring in and we had a coach manual. And when technology changes all the time, and you keep upgrading, you need to make sure that you keep upgrading and changing. So it's a it's a very fluid process. It's not something that you build and leave it alone. You got to keep it growing.
Theresa Baretta 30:53
Yes, that's right. That's right. As you always grow, grow your playbook with you.
Wendy Hanson 31:00
Okay, well, thank you so much. This was really helpful today. I hope that our listeners can take this information, go on your website, and look if they have more questions. Go see some of the YouTube videos and I really appreciate you sharing your wisdom with us today.
Theresa Baretta 31:16
Yes, thank you so much for having me here. Wendy.
Wendy Hanson 31:19
Take care everybody and have a wonderful day and get your systems working your life will be easier.
Theresa Baretta 31:25