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Published: August 2019
Our article about Genchi Genbutsu was an extract from our in-house onboarding flow, which all new team members follow when they join us. It received so much positive feedback we’ve decided to publish more, as a mini-series, which we’re calling The Infinite Manager.
The following excerpt introduces the unconventional operating system that has enabled our small team to have such an impact on the web’s leading companies.
We are obsessive about creating elegant flows. In fact, Conversion Rate Experts itself is mostly just a complex system of highly optimized flows. For everything we do—from adding winning tests to our Wins Database to creating client video testimonials—there’s a flow. Often the flow takes the form of a to-do list or checklist.
Whatever you’re working on, you should always be thinking how you can turn it into no work—either by removing the need for that activity altogether or by creating a flow to replace it that requires very little brainpower. That way, you can continually create value, leveraging your own time by creating systems to do work for you.
A good flow gets a job done without using up the user’s time, effort, memory, and brainpower.
Here are some examples of elegantly simple flows:
Here’s our favorite example of a terrible flow:
Design your flows for a busy, lazy, amnesiac idiot—a “moron in a hurry.” Even a genius with time on their hands will be grateful that you did.
If you want to create (and capture) a lot of value, leverage yourself.
In the past, the best-paid people tended to be “Meetings Managers,” managers who leveraged themselves by having meetings with other people (including one-on-ones). A typical manager could manage between five and twenty people.
Now, the ultra-effective—and infinitely scalable—way to leverage yourself is with well-thought-out flows (which tend to be supported by technology and user interfaces). Some managers already use flows to some extent (checklists, procedures, pro forma templates, scripts, and manuals) but technologies for delivering flows—such as wikis, web apps, and mobile apps—have recently skyrocketed the opportunity for using them.
People who create elegantly effective flows are the managers of the future. The busiest “Meetings Managers” can’t compete with them.
You may not realize it, but you’re already familiar with Flow Managers. It’s just that they are so different from Meetings Managers, you may not have recognized them as being managers. They tend to be thoughtful technicians rather than headstrong bosses. Their flows take the form of text, images, and videos—often delivered via a web interface.
Wikipedia is a great example. Traditional encyclopedias were compiled by hundreds of editors, managing thousands of contributors. Wikipedia’s managers did the same job using a small number of well-thought-out web flows, which were such a pleasure to use, the writers worked for free. You don’t hear Wikipedia writers complaining that they hate their bosses, or that they fall asleep in meetings. Wikipedia’s user interface does all the managing it needs to, and then gets out of the way. And if a writer isn’t happy with the user interface, they suggest how it can be improved.
Flow Management involves many skills, skills that most companies don’t take seriously. In fact, most companies don’t even know what they are.
Fortunately for us, many of the skills of Flow Management are the same as the skills of conversion rate optimization (CRO):
…and the people who are great at it tend to have the same natural aptitudes as CRO practitioners:
However, you’ll also need some additional skills, heuristics and mental models—many of which come from fields like process engineering, systems thinking, programming, and lean project management. The next installments of this guide contain the ones we find most useful. Of course, to become great at Flow Management takes years of study, practice, and reflection. But by the end of this guide, you’ll have a solid understanding of the techniques required to be a “manager of the future,” managing work in a way that’s efficient, optimizable, and infinitely scalable.
In part two, we explain why, to be a great Flow Manager, you need to start with your personal flows.
1. We have already grown companies just like yours. (We have helped to grow clients in 37 countries in 11 languages.) So wherever you are in the world, if you’d like us to work on your website—to dramatically increase its profits—then claim your FREE website strategy session. On this free phone consultation, one of our experts will discuss your conversion goals and suggest strategies to double your sales.
2. If you’d like to learn conversion for free, go to our “Learning Zone” page, where you can download templates of million-dollar winning pages. Or, if you’d like us to build your company’s in-house capabilities (not for free), then contact us and we’ll discuss your requirements.
3. If you’d like to work for us—or see why our team members love working for us—then see our “Careers” pages.
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