What do you think is more effective? Having a business completely run by a set of well defined processes or having the right people on the bus and no process?
If you’re going to read E-Myth then you also have to read Good to Great. On Principal, I completely disagree with some of the ideas E-Myth presents. While it’s handy and you can learn a lot, the basic premise of E-Myth is that people don’t matter and process is the thing that does matter. I disagree with that 100%.
I agree with E-Myth in its description of the typical business (managers, technicians, entrepreneurs). It’s the solution to the problem I disagree with. And that solution is process, process, process. Not just some process, all process and the extensive documentation of process. With E-Myth everything is documented down to the detail and the idea is that once something is documented you can hire anybody to do that job. E-Myth rides on the premise that people are robots and lack creativity to do their jobs.
Good to Great is the exact opposite and is guiding readers in the right direction. It says you should think about who is on the bus first, before you even figure out what you’re going to do in your business. It argues that a good team can do almost anything and we’ve seen that over and over again with businesses that succeed wildly. They just go out there and do awesome stuff again and again.
I see very little process at most of these companies. I can even think of a number of web startups that appear to have no process from the outside, and have eschewed process.
Now let me sidetrack just a moment and say I’ve spent more time with E-Myth than I care to admit. I spent months working with an E-Myth consultant working through their course a few years ago. I found it disgusting how focused it was on process. Everything was packaged up really nicely and the gist was that I could become a success if I just stuck with the multi-year program.
In all reality I think the most you can learn from E-Myth is this simple fact. There are three types of people and you shouldn’t try to do all of them yourself.
- Entrepreneurs (who are the dreamers, focused on the future)
- Managers (who are the organizers, focused on how to do things efficiently)
- Technicians (who are the “do-ers” focused on what’s to be done)
I invite the authors of these books to defend their positions.