Using Military Principles to Build Stronger Businesses – with Ben Shipley of Trust the Process
About Trust the Process
In this episode, Derek and Ben discussed stepping into an organization that is influenced by the efficiencies of the military, understanding clients’ needs, and managing an offshore team.
Trust the Process is a five-year-old Business Process Outsourcing firm founded by former Australian military officers, Peter Liston and Matthew Mosely.
According to Ben, Trust the Process “takes a very human-centered approach to outsourcing as well as a very process-led approach.”
He added, “I know those two things seem a little counter to each other, but you absolutely can do them together.”
Understanding clients’ needs
As Chief Growth Officer, Ben has worked with different types of leads and clients.
Regarding the beginning of the client’s outsourcing journey, he says, “Some business owners do have some preconceived notions, some pretty locked-in perspectives on things. And so, for me, it’s really about understanding where [they are] at in their journey.
Understanding where they’re at in their journey, and then applying appropriate levels of advice is really important.
I’m not here to tell anyone how to do something they already know how to do.”
When it comes to “selling” outsourcing to potential clients, his overall approach is, “You’re not just there to sell something to them that you don’t know how to deliver. You have to be pretty honest about this stuff.
Sometimes you’ll get pushback, sometimes, you won’t. Sometimes it’ll fit, sometimes it won’t.
But I think this is an industry more than any other I’ve ever worked in, where we just have to be so honest with each other about what we can and can’t do, and then make our own decisions from there about whether we should work together.”
Managing an offshore team
“Good offshoring is being great at managing remote staff.”
It takes more effort to manage an offshore team than onshore staff. According to the Trust the Process CRO, “Whatever works with onshore staff, you need to do 150% of that for your offshore staff. You have to communicate more frequently.”
Here are other things that Trust the Process does to effectively manage its offshore teams, according to Ben:
Having nonwork conversations
“You need to go out of your way to have nonwork conversations with your remote staff.
I catch up with my team every day, and I never start a meeting with what’s happening with work. That, to me, has been a major learning.
I think a lot of people learnt that, particularly when we went through all of the lockdowns and working from home with COVID. But we have to remember it, like that stuff is super important. It’s even harder if the person is remote[ly working].”
Focusing on retention
“Whilst a lot of people come to us looking for cost savings, your greatest cost in outsourcing is very rarely your hourly rate for the staff. It’s usually on all of the time you have to spend when you get it wrong when the person leaves, [or] when you have to replace [staff].
For us, we pay a little bit above market rate to our team members. We pay them health care, social security, and we pay them annual bonuses.
We do a lot of internal cultural work to try and make sure they have a great environment so that they stick around for the long term.
I think that’s a really important element, particularly for the types of businesses we work with.”
Shifting to a remote setup
“Having that remote [work] aspect, it just has totally changed the volume of amazing candidates we can get, because we can get them from wherever they happen to be.”
Ben says, “I think the hang up for some people is just getting their head around the idea that they want to be able to control someone, and they feel like access and same location equals control.
And the truth is, go into every office building that exists in the entire world. And watch how no one knows what anyone’s doing anyway.”
“Whether it’s remote, or whether it’s in an office, good control comes from good systems,” Ben added. He mentioned learning this military perspective from Trust the Process co-founder Peter.
“Control is consistency plus visibility. You don’t have more visibility because you’re in an office with somebody.
You have visibility if you have good systems and good technology, and people are working through those systems and technology.”
For final words, Ben left these words of wisdom:
“Never outsource a problem. Always outsource a process.
If you outsource a problem, you usually get a bigger problem. If you outsource a process, you get efficiency.”
Learn more about Ben Shipley and Trust the Process by visiting their website at www.trusttheprocess.com.au