⚙️ Ops Playbook #37

"Chief Automation Officers," automating on the fly, and fast flowcharts.

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Read Time: 8.9 Minutes

Hi Operators ⚙️

With the GPT-4o update coming out of OpenAI this week, we decided to focus on automation for this edition.

Despite the hype, this newsletter is still written by humans.

Then again, that’s probably exactly what an AI would say…

⚙️ Here’s what we got going on today:

  • Do you need to become a CAO? → How a ‘Chief Automation Officer’ can transform your company

  • Automating on the fly → A simple framework for figuring out which of your tasks to automate

  • Flowcharts in 15 seconds → An trick for creating impressive flowcharts with ChatGPT

Let’s jump in.

(P.S Have something you want us to cover in a future edition? Reply to this email or hit me up at [email protected]. )

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I. You probably need a Chief Automation Officer

Insight from Steph Smith

There’s too much damn work to do, and most of it can be automated.

Unfortunately for us, automating work is also work.

As a COO with a thousand other responsibilities, you probably don’t want to spend another 10 hours/week messing around in Make or Zapier.

What’s the solution? Hire a CAO (Chief Automation Officer).

Imagine how much more efficiently your business would run if you had an experienced individual whose only job was taking the busy work off of everyone else’s plate.

That’s the role of the CAO:

  • They interview (or shadow) your team to better understand their workflows

  • They mercilessly root out the repetitive, busywork tasks that dominate so much of our teams’ days

  • They build the automations, create documentation on how they’re set up (so others can diagnose any issues/breakage), rinse, and repeat

Now, this doesn’t have to be a C-level hire.

The CAO role can be an agency, a part-time contractor, or even an experienced VA.

The point is, if you want to actually implement some of the incredibly useful automations and practices that we’re going to be talking about in today’s edition, you should find someone to do it for you.

Delegation, remember?

II. Automating on the fly

Insight from Ciler Demiralp

Alright, let’s say that you aren’t quite ready to hire a CAO.

That means, for the time being, you’re going to be automating everything yourself.

Well, not everything. 

You need to decide what tasks to automate, which to delegate, and which to continue managing yourself.

The process for this is straightforward:

  • Start by tracking your own time for a week. Look for the repetitive tasks that occupy a large proportion of your time. Specifically, make note of the tasks that follow a step-by-step process every single time. These are the tasks you want to automate.

  • Break those candidate tasks down into components. Where does each step of the task take place (Gmail, Google Sheets, etc.)? What are the “triggers” that begin the task?

  • Define the actions that the automation needs to fulfill, step-by-step. The more detailed you are, the smoother the process will be when it comes time to build the automation in your platform of choice.

Start with the 3-5 tasks that are occupying the most time every week. I doubt you’ll want to stop there though.

Once you’ve successfully automated a time-consuming task, it becomes a little addictive.

Spend a little bit of time to get a lot of time back.

III. Flowcharts in 15 seconds

Insight from Superbold.ai

If you haven’t found a way to use ChatGPT to make your job easier yet, you’re lacking creativity.

Still need an idea? Here’s a cool trick we found on Twitter.

You can use ChatGPT to make awesome flowcharts, and do it fast.

This one’s great for slide decks and presentations. Here’s how it works:

  • Ask ChatGPT to outline the steps for whatever process you’re trying to present. Provide feedback and details until it’s outline is accurate.

  • Request that it build a flowchart based on that process. If it looks good to go, ask ChatGPT to generate mermaid code for your flowchart.

  • Head to Draw.io, start a new project, and use the “Mermaid” feature to paste your code.

Voila. You’ve got a great-looking flowchart that took you less than a minute to make.

The board is amazed, you get a stock refresh, and everyone claps.

Something Fun

Hopefully not too real for anyone reading…

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