Sneak Peeks

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Sneak Peeks

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Whether you’re interested in the path from chemist to Chief Operating Officer, where to go in a zombie apocalypse (scuba diving, obviously), or how to travel the world on a dime, Travis Cormier is your guy.

Starting as a freelance writer for Aethereal to becoming the company's COO, Travis is all about process, improvement, and implementation. One area he's most passionate about: making your job easier. If you've ever felt like the majority of your time at work is eaten up with repetitive tasks, taking you away from more valuable work, you won't want to miss the framework he came up with for a company-wide task and process audit.

Whether you’ve had a colleague or direct report share that they have too much work but can't identify what that is or you’re a business leader who realized that it's time to take some work off of your plate, you'll take a lot away from this episode.

In this episode, we discuss:
• The most underrated Operations function
• People as primary motivators
• Travis' process and task audit process and the positive results he's seen at his company
• Relatability as the key ingredient for building processes (building something that anyone can do, not just one person)
• Why more people should adopt the mindset to make your job easier, not harder (and why that's ok)
• The future of Operations
• How Travis uses Tango in conjunction with other tools like Notion for just-in-time knowledge transfer and training

Where to find Travis Cormier:
• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/travis-cormier-4b168049/

Where to find your host, Ken:
• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kenbabcock/
• Twitter/X: https://twitter.com/bigredbabz
• Change Enablers, a community by Tango: https://www.tango.us/change-enablers-...

Like what you heard? Subscribe, leave us a review, and let us know who in Operations and Enablement should be our next guest.

Ken Babcock (00:01.602)

Travis, welcome. We are pumped to have you on the guidepost. For those listening, Travis is the CEO of Conway Media, media travel company. They own travel sites just as 10X travel mile value. When he's not traveling, he lives in Houston. He's an avid scuba diver. Lots of interesting stuff we're gonna dig into today. Travis, thanks for coming on.

Travis Cormier (00:24.258)

Yeah, thanks Ken. I'm so excited to be here. I love Tango, I love operations and annoyingly love talking about it.

Ken Babcock (00:35.598)

Uh, no, I think that'll ring true for our audience. Uh, just to get everybody warmed up, you warmed up, me warmed up. We're going to jump into some rapid fire questions. We won't go into too much detail with these, but, um, just to kick it off. What are three software products that you can't live without right now?

Travis Cormier (00:54.966)

Yeah, so number one absolutely has to be Tango, not to be too much promoting of it, but it's been just absolutely life-changing for the way we work. We use it throughout our business so much and it's.

Ken Babcock (01:02.254)

Good answer, good answer.

Travis Cormier (01:17.618)

just made so much easier. The second one would be Notion. We use it as, we're building it out as, we call it like our home base, where it's where everything is, everything's stored. Easier to organize, easier to follow than just a bunch of files living in Google Drive or Dropbox somewhere else.

And the third would be Zapier, an automation platform to help make your job easier. I'm all about making my job easier and making anyone's job easier. And Zapier does a lot of that for me.

Ken Babcock (01:56.142)

That's awesome. That is a, that is a lethal trio right there. Talk to me a little bit about what you would consider the most underrated sort of role or function within operations.

Travis Cormier (02:10.742)

Yeah, I think...

In operations, the most underrated function and skill really is being an agent of change. People who view operations less as the daily doing of tasks and more as making changes and improvements, where the execution of an operations role is focused on improvements rather than simply doing.

Thank you.

Ken Babcock (02:45.87)

I think that's a really interesting point because, you know, almost in the name, you know, operations sort of suggests like, keep all the lights on, you know, execute on the business. We are going to operate the business. I think taking that lens of like, how do we improve, like do that 1% improvement every day in how we operate, whether that unlocks efficiencies for our team or like, you know, value back to the business, whether that's financial or, you know, other opportunities.

Travis Cormier (02:53.305)

Yeah.

Ken Babcock (03:14.286)

I think that's really important to underscore. So thanks for sharing that. And then last but not least, this is our toughest question for sure. And by the way, we ask everyone at Tango this question in their first week. It just shows you how critical it is. Where would you go in a zombie apocalypse?

Travis Cormier (03:18.774)

Yeah, I mean...

Ha ha ha.

Travis Cormier (03:29.866)

Oh nice. Yeah.

All right, this is an easy one for me. You mentioned I'm a scuba diver. I would just go underwater. I don't know the biological anatomy of zombies, but I have a sense that maybe they can drown. So that's my hope. My hope is that they can drown before I run out of air. So underwater is where I'm running away from them.

Ken Babcock (03:58.734)

Okay, well, for all the zombies listening, that's where Travis will be. We have had such a wide range of responses. I mean, you know, and surprisingly, a lot of people are just like, I'm not fighting this, I'm joining, I'm all in. Which, yeah, I don't know.

Travis Cormier (04:13.234)

Yeah. Yeah, sometimes being able to admit defeat is a valuable skill.

Ken Babcock (04:25.07)

Yeah, just mark one in the lost column and move on. Well, anyway, thank you for sort of indulging in those questions. We've got a bunch of stuff we wanna cover. I wanna dig in a little bit into your career path. And then we'll talk a little bit more about operations and specific projects that your team has been tackling. But let's start with you.

Travis Cormier (04:35.487)

Of course.

Ken Babcock (04:51.818)

I want to focus on kind of your career trajectory, how you got into operations. I think the thing that stood out to me was, you know, you started as a freelance writer at Conway Media and you were a chemist before that. And now you're the COO of the company. So color in between the lines there for me and help me understand, you know, the decisions that you made that kind of got you to where you are and why you've gravitated towards operations.

Travis Cormier (05:03.997)

Yep.

Travis Cormier (05:19.618)

Yeah, it feels every time I reflect on it, like just a crazy journey. I mean, even going back, so I'm a law school dropout, realized being a lawyer wasn't for me. My undergrad degree was in chemistry, so I went and naturally became a chemist, because that's what you do. But while working as a quality assurance chemist.

I had a little bit of extra free time on my hands and was looking for ways to help pay the student loans off. So started freelance writing on the side and over time just kept doing that, kept doing that. The opportunity to step up to be the editor-in-chief part-time happened. And as a chemist, a lot of people often think that we're

just working with chemicals, mixing stuff, making new things. And that's, I mean, that's an important part of the job, but part of it is process and development. I worked at a large manufacturing company and so it was both figuring out or it was both doing the work and figuring out how to do it and how to build the work to be done. And

one of my very first managers instilled this mindset of me that anyone at any time can find better ways to do things. As long as it's firmly grounded and everyone signs off on it. And that just really stuck with me. And I think that naturally gravitates towards an operations type mindset. And when the opportunity presented itself post COVID,

Ken Babcock (06:46.863)

Thank you.

Travis Cormier (07:07.176)

was a rough time. Started rebounding and the opportunity to come on full-time was presented to me and I jumped in so I stopped being a chemist came in as COO bringing that past work and mindset of process and improvement to our small business.

Ken Babcock (07:10.35)

Thank you.

Ken Babcock (07:17.503)

Thank you.

Ken Babcock (07:32.214)

Yeah, that's, that's really fascinating. How you, how you kind of tied the two together. I mean, what I'm sort of hearing is like, you know, you define how something gets done, that might work for the time being, but eventually that might get updated or, or there's a better way to do something or you've productized a part of that process and so this like iterative almost like growth mindset is something that you carried over from your days as a chemist. Is that fair to say?

Travis Cormier (07:58.454)

Yeah, definitely. I mean, in chemistry and at plants, we called it continuous improvement. And it's something that has just really, really stuck with me is realizing that there's always room for improvement. It might not always be the right time for improvement, but always looking for those opportunities to improve continuously is something that's valuable to anywhere you work.

Ken Babcock (08:25.506)

Yeah. As, as a COO, do you, do you ever encounter obstacles? You know, you've obviously got this mindset of like, change is going to be something that's persistent and we always need to change and adapt, but. Do you feel like sometimes that's harder for your team or vendors to be like embrace that change? Cause I mean, change is hard for a lot of people.

Travis Cormier (08:50.218)

Yeah, I think that it certainly can. I've been very fortunate to both work and hire people who embrace that mindset. We've really focused on building that as part of the culture of our company. And it's something we interview for, it's something we learn about people so that way we can be sure that the people we're working with are...

just as much agents of change as everyone else in the company. And this recognition and acknowledgement that I feel is really important that, you know, when change happens, it does sometimes make your job harder. And that's something we have to, you know, I think, no, I think people in general don't talk about it that much.

but it's acknowledging that it might be making your job harder, but that's not the purpose behind the change. It's improving efficiencies or improving revenue, improving something somewhere else, even if what ends up on your plate ends up being a little bit more work. And that recognition and acknowledgement of that, uh,

goes really far and it helps everyone be on the same page that change is not without purpose.

Ken Babcock (10:14.402)

Yeah. And you mentioned that, you know, when we were sort of preparing for this, you mentioned that, you know, one of your big motivators as a COO is like, you know, having people experience those challenges, sort of unlocking them or solving those problems and just being like, Oh, like there is an opportunity here to, you know, continually fix the things that are broken.

Travis Cormier (10:28.29)

Yeah.

Travis Cormier (10:38.142)

Yeah, definitely, definitely. Um, people as motivators, as, uh, agents of change, just, it just really aligns everyone on, on the same path. Um, and it's a, it's a give and take. It's the recognition that right now the change that's happening might be harder for you, but there will also be times when the change makes your life easier. And having that.

Ken Babcock (10:53.038)

Thank you.

Travis Cormier (11:07.538)

understanding amongst everyone and being sure that it happens, not just giving it lip service.

Ken Babcock (11:15.566)

So let's get a little more tactical. I think, you know, you and I could definitely sit here and sort of wax philosophical about, you know, how you build teams and why you look for this agents of change mindset, which is so critical, right? You're solving it at the top of funnel, which is, you know, when you're hiring people. But I want to dig into, you know, this sort of process and task audit that you had mentioned.

Travis Cormier (11:17.411)

Sure.

Ken Babcock (11:41.854)

I think this is fascinating. You know, I, I'm a big follower of the entrepreneurial operating system. Um, which, uh, is, is Gino Wickham sort of method for how a company should operate. And the first thing that he says that you do is you document all of your processes, what are the core processes of your business? And it's not necessarily saying, Hey, this is the way things need to be done. It's just an inventory and then you can go through and kind of say, do we need that?

Travis Cormier (11:48.629)

Mm-hmm.

Ken Babcock (12:11.586)

Is this actually as good as it could be? So talk to me a little bit about your experience doing this. Why was this a need? Why was this something that you took on? How did the team respond? I'll let you take it whatever direction you will, and I might jump in at certain points. Really.

Travis Cormier (12:30.474)

Absolutely, feel free to feel free to. Um, when, when I came on full time, uh, I was part of three people. It was just three of us at the company. So we were really doing everything. I mean, anyone who's worked at a small business or started their own knows that.

When you don't have a lot of people, you have to be the one doing things. But as you experience scale and experience growth and have the ability to bring more people in, it's an opportunity to start offloading that off of your plate. But the challenge that you run into is you've been doing this so long, this is something that's critical and it's hard to trust someone else to do it. And it's hard to stop doing it.

tasks that you feel are very important to your business. Maybe not everyone's that way, but it's a common theme that I've seen amongst entrepreneurs. And trying to reframe it in less as a trust and less as a how do I do this and more as an opportunity really reframes the conversation.

And so what we've done is exactly what you described, auditing those tasks, just keeping a sheet of them and.

doing it in a way that feels low stress, that doesn't feel difficult to do. It's literally just a spreadsheet, but as you're working and you do a task, you just write it down. And that's all you do for one to two weeks, maybe even longer if you need to. And it helps you build this inventory of the tasks that you're doing.

Travis Cormier (14:23.35)

then you go back and you evaluate them. You look through and decide, what am I good at? What am I not good at? What am I uniquely good at? And that starts to help you see the separation of, well, if I'm uniquely good at something, and uniquely good means, you know.

Travis Cormier (14:47.03)

1% that you are the 1% who does this and does this better than anyone else. You should keep doing that. But the tasks that you might just be competent at, those are things that you can take off of your plate. And then you can kind of assign a value, you know, you've got this sense of, of what value this brings

Travis Cormier (15:09.622)

to your company or your business and can set this value to decide what level it needs to go to. And once you do that and have this bigger and better picture of the tasks and the work that you're doing, it becomes a lot easier to say

Travis Cormier (15:28.686)

If I removed 50% of my tasks and focus just on the ones that I have that unique ability that drive high value, what results would that have for the company? And that makes it a lot easier to delegate and move ones off of your plate. But sometimes it reveals tasks that you realize you don't need to be doing anymore. And I think that's sometimes one of the most powerful things is we just keep doing things.

Travis Cormier (15:58.46)

because that's how it's always been done. And we can break that barrier and realize this is not something we need to do anymore, or this is something we can automate. So you can really start working to clean off your plate and focus on the work that you do that provides the most value.

Travis Cormier (16:21.178)

And as we've grown and added more people, it's not just something that we do at the top level, it's something we're doing with everyone. So when someone comes to me, someone who isn't at the C level and says, Travis, I've got way too much work on my plate and I'm trying to get these projects done, but I'm just too busy. A lot of times some people's response is, well, that's the job. And

Travis Cormier (16:49.59)

To me, that's not really an acceptable answer. So passing this task on it onto, to people who are saying they're too busy first kind of smooths the conversation because you're coming in a sense of time of need and frustration and. It gives, yes, it does give more work. Like.

Travis Cormier (17:10.098)

acknowledging that it's creating more work, but making it simple with just this spreadsheet, lets them take inventory of the work they're doing so then they can come to you. You can sit down together analyze. What are they good at? What's you know, what are their unique strengths and what they provide the value in and then you can find the tasks that you can again

Travis Cormier (17:32.394)

hire someone else for, hire a contractor. Again, maybe tasks that don't need to be done anymore or tasks that can be automated. So that way you can systematize the approach to alleviating the stress of work.

Ken Babcock (17:48.446)

Yeah. This is almost where it kind of your lawyer background comes from. You know, it's like, what are the alignment? What's everything that I'm doing at a given day? Um, no, I'm only joking, but, you know, I think what's, what's interesting that you brought up is oftentimes. You know, people do come up blank when they're like, Hey, I'm, I'm overloaded. I know you want me to take that on, but like, that's so many things going on. And sometimes they can't really articulate that. I think that's sort of a microcosm.

of oftentimes what happens at the organizational level. Where it's like, oh, we're doing all these things. Like all these things are happening. But a lot of times you can't point towards what is it? What is it that we're doing? What are all these processes and tasks? I mean, we've surveyed, you know, members of our community and, you know, 75% of folks say that less than half of their processes are documented. I mean, it's wild.

You know, and these are, these are folks that are deep in the operations world. So like doing that inventory alone is just so illuminating both for the individual and for the organization. Um, so I love that you guys are doing that. Any other like big takeaways, like maybe, maybe things you didn't expect from that exercise that, that helped you understand your business a little bit better.

Travis Cormier (19:09.862)

If, if anything, it's, it's this realization of just the evolution of work that people do and that naturally what happens when people are in an organization where they feel as if they have ownership of their work is that when they need to add more tasks, they tend to just

kind of do them automatically. They get proactive at deciding what changes need to be made and just doing them, which is.

an incredible trait for people to have, but it, from a leadership perspective, it gives me the insight into the work that they're doing and also insight into the work that has changed. Because our processes might have changed at a level underneath simply because they needed to happen. And I wasn't aware of that. And I view that as an opportunity to document to

Travis Cormier (20:16.924)

about the work that's going on. But separately from that, it helps to very organically drive these conversations of career growth, career trajectory. When you're looking at these tasks and what people are doing, especially with someone who is a really high performer on your team, you can look at it and have the conversation in a different way. It becomes collaborative rather than

It's okay, you're doing these, but what do you like doing? What do you think you're really good at doing? And how does that fit into the success of the organization? And having that flexibility, you know, rather than rigidity in a role, to start thinking beyond just what your job description is or what's written on the list of what you're supposed to do can open the door to conversations of, you know,

I didn't realize that you were so good at this. You might be someone in marketing and you're doing some work on sales side and not realizing how good this person was at the sales side of the organization and also how much they enjoy doing it. And having that insight into the work they're doing, the work they're good at, and the work that they enjoy doing.

Ken Babcock (21:30.231)

Yes.

Travis Cormier (21:41.922)

benefits the organization as a whole. We've brought in people who have backgrounds in marketing, who are doing more operations stuff now, because they never had the opportunity to do operations, but they realize they like it. They're good at it and they've got a talent for it. And it breaks down these barriers of this is my one linear career path. And instead can become, okay, dude, is this where you want to go? Do you want to go here?

Travis Cormier (22:11.896)

love to take you there if you want. And it allows me as a leader to be supportive of getting the knowledge and the skills and the education needed to make that happen.

Ken Babcock (22:12.014)

you can just get it on your phone.

Ken Babcock (22:19.55)

Yeah. And you're, and you're pushing people to a more creative place of work, which is where, like, you know, I think a lot of the themes that you've already touched on. How do we automate process? How do we, you know, find repetitive tasks and get people away from doing those? It's all in the spirit of like, let's get people to a place where they can be creative. And I think when people are creative.

Travis Cormier (22:29.251)

Yeah.

Ken Babcock (22:48.594)

It usually means they're enjoying what they're doing and they, they have confidence in what they're doing. And that might be that uniquely good piece. Um, there's a, you know, this matrix that you talked about, are you uniquely good at something or not? Are you enjoying it or not that intersection of, Hey, I'm uniquely good at this and I'm enjoying it. I think that's been referred to as like the zone of genius, because that's when people are really like getting into the flow.

getting creative, like thinking about things like long and, and deeply because they want to solve those problems. And so I think it's a really interesting approach to, to career development you guys are taking on. So kudos to you.

Travis Cormier (23:27.682)

Yeah, thanks. I wanted to add on too that one of the kind of additional benefits that comes out of it for me as a leader is it does, I found it does a really good job of establishing trust.

because when someone comes to me and says, I've got too much work, I'm not dismissive of it. It's, let's go through this process to figure out how we're gonna solve this together.

it's resulted in that actually happening. So they gain trust that you're not just saying it, just to get them out of your office. And it's had the opposite result too, where I've had people come to me and say, hey Travis, I've only had like 20, 25 hours of work over the past two weeks. Like I can take on more, which is something that most people are, I think naturally hesitant to do, because they're so used to working in an environment where they're constantly just

given more work and never having their work deloaded. And so it provides this trust between manager and employee that cascades through all the aspects of the working relationship.

Ken Babcock (24:48.686)

Totally. I can see that. Let's get even more specific. I want to talk about this compliance workflow that you launched and you shared with us. I'm sure that everyone here, our audience, they want to get into the nitty-gritty. I mean, these are all ops folks like you, so they love hearing the specifics. Could you share something maybe that would be relatable to this group about...

Travis Cormier (24:57.411)

Sure.

Ken Babcock (25:17.13)

about that compliance workflow and some of the main takeaways that your team had.

Travis Cormier (25:23.722)

Yeah, I so to provide some context, we, we publish content around how to this could become a whole other conversation, but how to save money on travel by leveraging points that you earn from credit cards to not pay for travel. And we have a working relationship with banks to market those products.

Travis Cormier (25:52.366)

But the financial industry is very heavily regulated. So when they make changes, they have to send them down to us. And we have to reflect those changes across everywhere on our site, across all of our content, to be sure that we're not sharing information that isn't what's actually being marketed at the time. And when you're a media company with thousands of pages of content, that's a pretty heavy burden to manage.

Ken Babcock (26:05.425)

Okay.

Travis Cormier (26:21.798)

And we wanted to build a process around it that wasn't built around just one person, but was built and designed in a way that's easy and that anyone can do. Because it is such a critical function to our company, it needed to be something that anyone could step in at any time without prior knowledge of how to do it and be able to do it because we needed such high levels of redundancy on it.

Travis Cormier (26:51.13)

Uh, and so we, like everyone in ops, it took way longer than we wanted it to, uh, it took multiple iterations to, to get right. And it's still something that we're always working to improve, but utilizing the, some of the tools I mentioned, like Tango and Notion to

Ken Babcock (26:52.814)

Yeah.

Travis Cormier (27:17.518)

build this out and have the documentation live within the process itself, made it to where anyone can come in at any time, know how to do it, and have the specific step-by-step instructions that they need right at their fingertips. There's no redirecting, there's no go here, read this, look here, look there. It's reducing the number of touch points that you need to make it work.

Travis Cormier (27:46.89)

in a way that makes it both easy and capable for anyone to be able to step in. And we got to actually see this in practice because, um, our team member who primarily does this had an emergency, had to go out. I was there back up, but I was in the middle of nowhere, scuba diving, didn't have any internet and, uh, yeah.

Ken Babcock (28:11.457)

Hiding from zombies, naturally.

Travis Cormier (28:14.574)

And you know, everyone on the team already had some familiarity with it, but we hadn't had the time to do full training on it, but, uh, one of our team members was able to step in, see the instructions right away, see how it's been done in the past and run with it. And maybe a little, uh, made me really happy, like give me thanks for how well. Detailed, but easy. It was. And I think that's a really.

Travis Cormier (28:43.19)

difficult balance that a lot of people in operations stray for is building something that works, that is easy, that is self-sustaining, regardless of who the person is that's doing it.

Ken Babcock (28:57.358)

Yeah. And there's, there's this, we call it the Goldilocks zone of context where it's like, I mean, how many of us have encountered documentation where you're like, I can't possibly read all of this and, and come away, you know, still awake for one, um, but, and then there's also, you know, the, the opposite, like not enough context, you know, maybe it's, it's missing some key steps and so, you know, making sure that it's

Travis Cormier (29:00.653)

Yeah.

Travis Cormier (29:14.178)

Yeah.

Ken Babcock (29:26.398)

self-serve as we call it, where someone can jump in and they can figure it out themselves, you know, based on the context that they have, that's, that's crucial. Another, another piece that, that you were alluding to, and we talked about, you know, sort of before the call was, you know, tango as well as just this project, you know, your goal was kind of, let's detach process from specific. People. And maybe talk to me a little bit about when you do that, like

Travis Cormier (29:28.391)

Mm-hmm.

Ken Babcock (29:55.926)

What are the, what are the benefits that you're seeing? I know you already, you already kind of talked about one where it's people can go in and there's you're minimizing these touch points, but are there other benefits that you saw to sort of detaching people from process?

Travis Cormier (30:12.592)

The biggest benefit is simply robustness. You know, everyone wants processes in their business to be at a point where it doesn't rely on a single person to do it. And a lot of, I've worked at a lot of places where it is that way, where it's, hey Joe, you're the one who knows how to do this, so we're just gonna have you do it. And it...

Travis Cormier (30:37.198)

really makes you feel more comfortable in the security of your company and the work that you're producing because for especially for these critical aspects having such strong robustness so that you know you could effectively train someone without even having to train them to do it so that anyone could step in at any time.

Travis Cormier (31:03.778)

is just a very big point of relief, especially for something that is so critical to the business. Kind of stepping all the way back to not wanting to hand off these highly critical tasks for your company. It removes that from it and is just a very nice wave of relief for everyone involved.

Ken Babcock (31:27.758)

And I think that's a mindset shift that needs to happen. You know, I know we're just talking about an abstract Joe out there, but you know, for that Joe who almost feels like these are the things that I own. This is my process. People rely on me. That's all well and good. And like Joe should get the credit he deserves for that. But this like, you know, withholding of scale around knowledge.

Travis Cormier (31:48.642)

Absolutely.

Ken Babcock (31:56.11)

that becomes a real problem. You know, instead of people thinking, oh, I need to hold onto these things because these are me, this is the value that I bring to the business. There needs to be this shift around the value that I bring is actually how many people can do it without coming to me with questions. Like that's the dream.

Travis Cormier (32:13.197)

Yeah.

Yeah, it is. And I actually just hired a new managing editor who's thinking away, our editorial tasks were a huge thing on my list and needed to clear those up. Looked at our task assessment, said, perfect, this is the role we need to hire for. And I was discussing Target's goals, her onboarding plan and...

One of the pieces of the work that we do is we have an engagement with a company that writes some... they don't write the blog posts but they outline them, they research them and give them to us to give to writers. And one of the targets for my new editor was you need to publish this many times a week. And she asked me, she said...

Okay, so I need to publish this many times a week plus this many from this company. And I said, no, you're those count. Those count. Like, and this mindset in this, this acknowledgement that we shouldn't be working to make our jobs any harder than they should be that everything we do.

should be done with the focus of making it easier. And that doesn't put you at risk or anything. It's this, this mindset that when we make everyone's job easier, it means everyone has more capacity to contribute in other ways, um, or to expand upon their role, to have the ability to make these changes and so take those wins that make your job easier. And that's not for us, that's not a negative, that's a positive because

Ken Babcock (33:52.513)

Yes.

Travis Cormier (33:54.948)

ultimately judged on the outcomes of your work, not the effort that you put into it. And when we can reflect that through the way we're building and designing processes, it reinforces to everyone that is the ultimate goal and that you should embrace making your job easier.

Ken Babcock (34:03.304)

Thank you.

Ken Babcock (34:09.45)

It's worth it. Thank you.

Ken Babcock (34:15.466)

Yeah, a hundred percent. I mean, Cal Newport talks about this all the time. He's a, he's a researcher. You know, when you look at the wave of technological innovation over the last hundred years, you would think we'd all be working way less. We'd all be way more efficient, but the reality is, is we're actually all working more. So he asked that question of like, why have we created so many things that can drive efficiency and productivity? And why are we working

Travis Cormier (34:30.446)

Yeah.

Ken Babcock (34:43.61)

I mean, it's, it's fascinating when you try to put yourself in the shoes of like, okay, what happened when we didn't have email, we didn't have Slack, we didn't have cell phones. People still got like a lot of things done. So anyway, that could be a whole nother podcast. And maybe this is a good transition point. You know, I wanted to get your opinion. When you think about the operations field, which

Travis Cormier (34:56.29)

Yeah.

Ken Babcock (35:09.686)

is admittedly very broad. It means a lot of different things to a lot of different companies, but, um, how do you think that that's going to change over the next decade? Or maybe how do you think it should change? And I think we've, we've talked a little bit about some of this stuff, but we'd love to just hear kind of your viewpoint on, on where things are going. And so that way people in our audience can think about, all right, where is it heading? How can I plan for it?

Travis Cormier (35:35.762)

Yeah, I think it's going away from being process focused and

more towards people focused. And that doesn't mean that you don't have processes, you don't have systems, those are always going to be important, but that the processes that you build are focused on improving the efficiency of your people. Because when your processes are not built around the efficiency of your people, what ends up happening is that the capacity for work that any one individual has is maybe two or three unique processes

business. But when you shift that mindset and do care about making your processes people focused to make their jobs easier to do, then you can remove the

the tedious aspect of the work through automation, through AI. Yeah. Some people view them as scary buzzwords, but, but they don't have to be something that's taking away. They're there to enhance. They're there to be used to say, okay, you're doing these tasks. Let's automate 80% of them. And your role is still just as important because we still need subject matter experts.

Travis Cormier (36:58.548)

manage them, automations break. Trust me. I have, uh, I, I have over 10,000 of my weekly tasks automated and they break. Yeah. Um,

Ken Babcock (37:02.518)

Yes, we do.

Ken Babcock (37:09.73)

You have 10,000 weekly tasks automated.

Ken Babcock (37:15.338)

What's the surface area of total tasks? Is that like half of your weekly tasks? 80%, 90%? Oh, okay.

Travis Cormier (37:22.19)

Uh, it's probably about 75%. Um, yeah. And, and, you know, when anyone comes to me with, again, too much work, like one of the things we look at is what can we automate on these tasks? And we've.

You know, we started off in Zapier having one to two little steps. We've got zaps now that are incredibly complex. If this logic, um, following this chain that can remove a lot of the, the manual lifting that used to have to be done, but it's still important to have people there who know how they work.

in order to fix them when, when something breaks because that happens, you know, HubSpot goes offline and your Zaps don't, don't run because of that. So you need to go in manually process some stuff, identify it, also evaluate it, see, okay, is this a recurring thing that we need to fix? Was this just a one-off thing? And having that ownership of those processes, but you.

It's also just empowering because you get more insight into the processes themselves. When you're so busy just doing it, you often aren't thinking about the why or the how. You're just focused on clicking the right buttons at the right time, doing the right things. And now you've got insight into it and how it works in order to improve it and make it more efficient in the future. And

Travis Cormier (38:54.77)

I really think that that's the future of operations is using automations and operations together to look at people and what they're doing and make what they're doing easier. So that way their time is less spent on doing busy work and more time on doing meaningful work so that everyone in the organization can be contributing to its growth.

Ken Babcock (39:24.266)

Yeah. The Tango product team is taking notes, uh, as we speak. Now, I mean, I think what's interesting that you shared there is like, you know, we are shifting, we're, we're pushing more people to their zone of genius. As we talked about, we're making organizations more people-centric, which I think means a little bit more creative, you know, but the prerequisite for that is everything that we talked about. You've got to take the inventory. You've got to codify your process. People need to be.

Travis Cormier (39:27.982)

Hahaha

Travis Cormier (39:37.399)

Yeah.

Ken Babcock (39:52.45)

familiar with it, it needs to be accessible, visible, not held, you know, by one single person. It's almost like that's like a key man risk, right? Um, and instead, you know, you might, you might've executed 10 X, you know, 10, 10 tasks in a day, but now you're actually overseeing, you know, all of these automations and all of this, this workflow that gives you back time. And that's so valuable.

Travis Cormier (40:01.668)

Yeah.

Travis Cormier (40:20.334)

Absolutely, absolutely. And it's empowering throughout the organization once people build that trust that you're doing it for, yes, you're doing it for the business, but you're also doing it for them. So that way they can have that time to be creative. I think that's the exact way to put it. They can have the time to be creative, to think about the challenges they're facing and how to solve them. And...

Ken Babcock (40:32.059)

Thank you.

Travis Cormier (40:46.742)

Too often people don't have the time to think about those challenges and how to solve them because they're just too busy working through them. Um, and when you've got top down support for that, it.

Ken Babcock (40:57.214)

Mm-hmm. Oh.

Travis Cormier (41:02.742)

reinforces that making your work easier is okay. It's not only okay, it's encouraged and it's acceptable because of the dividends it pays off, both for the company and for you personally. You're less stressed, you feel less overworked, and as a result, you feel more empowered to contribute back to the growth.

Ken Babcock (41:24.566)

Yeah, that's great. Well, Travis, thanks for sharing all that. I've got one last question just for folks who wanna get a lens into kind of how you think and work. Is there anything that you're reading, listening to, watching right now that you wanna share with the audience? That's good.

Travis Cormier (41:29.686)

Yeah. Sure.

Travis Cormier (41:46.142)

So right now I'm reading double by Cameron Harold Full disclosure. He runs a mastermind group for coos that I'm in I'm a big fan of I have learned so much from it His book double is about how to I think the tagline is how to double your company in two years and Just being able to implement it implement what works and

how this continuous learning is something that automation and process and operations has given me. So that's what I'm reading right now.

Ken Babcock (42:29.582)

Awesome, yeah, thanks for sharing. Well, Travis, appreciate the time today. I'm sure our community is gonna love this episode too. So just thank you for spending some time with us and a lot of really good takeaways.

Travis Cormier (42:45.026)

Yeah, thanks Ken, I enjoyed it.

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