Get Off The Treadmill with Sandy Corrigan

Sandy Corrigan talks about freedom mapping in this episode of Get Off The Treadmill for Business Leaders Podcast. This process consists of several elements that help business owners and their team members take note of how to use their time more effectively; how to prioritize, self-manage and be productive. In the episode, Corrigan talks about how it can encourage the creation of “participation age organizations where the people that are in our businesses really consider themselves as stakeholders”.

Welcome to Get off the Treadmill Podcast for Business Leaders, where we are relentless about helping small business owners get off the treadmill and make meaning too. I’m Sandy Corrigan and we are going to dive into another conversation that helps us make more money in less time, get off the treadmill and rehumanize every business leader by giving you your brain back.

In April, in our 3to5 Cubs we were talking about freedom mapping. I love that we call this freedom mapping, we used to call this process mapping, but I love the fact that we have a tool that helps us, as business owners, get off the treadmill so we can have more freedom of choice.

Freedom Mapping Elements

Freedom mapping consists of several elements. It consists of self-management, role clarity, productivity, commitment letters, training, incentives, metrics, and process clarity. Basically, the freedom mapping is the core of productivity and the highest empowered teams, or even just those that are highly empowered, to run a successful and profitable and freedom and choice giving business, want to implement freedom mapping to give us that freedom of choice.

Freedom mapping helps me look at what is the highest and best use of my time, and helps every member on my team or in my company, ask that same question. We want to create participation age organizations, companies, and businesses where the people that are in our businesses consider themselves stakeholders. They really have ownership, they’re self-managed, they can make decisions, they feel like they have freedom, creativity, autonomy and mastery. Especially the people on the front lines who, as organizations we tend to see them as being told what to do. But, what if we flip that around and ask those people, “what would you do in this situation?”

Stakeholders vs Employees

I remember going to a leadership event with a company that I was with. A leader from a big, seasoned company came in and we had several leaders from companies come in to talk about how they ran their businesses. I remember this particular seasoned company was having trouble in a couple of their areas, in terms of their sales being really inconsistent. So the people in the Ivory Tower got together and came up with all these solutions and then they took it to the people on the frontline and, before they implemented it, one smart leader asked a question and that was: “What would you do to increase consistency in our sales?”

One of the individuals who is just on the line every day said: “We have to get back to the recipe that we used to use, where we sold pounds and pounds of this product”. The [leader] asks “What was that recipe?” and they got that recipe out and implemented that particular recipe and ended up creating tremendous consistency in sales. But if they’d never asked the person who was right there every day, day in and day out with the client, they probably would have continued to implement ideas that were not as successful.

Purpose of Freedom Mapping

Freedom mapping helps us be able to give freedom and choice to the people that we work with as well as to create processes and systems so that we can repeat great results and fix things that are broken. So when we look at freedom mapping, we want to create three sets of maps, basically.

One is a macro map, and use that for the highest and best use of time, we can use it for training, we can use it for presentations or client onboarding, letting clients know what we’re about and how they fit into that process, and how we serve them through that process. That is your high level showing the buckets within your organization.

Then, each of those buckets has things called micro maps, and those micro maps are the pieces of that bucket. So in advertising, for example, you might have 12 different ways that you market and advertise. So, you would have a map with that label on it, and then behind that, we have our process descriptions.

Benefits of Freedom Mapping

I have had a real estate company for many years, but we had a big team at one time, but a small one now (by choice). We used process mapping for everything because we were part of a 3to5 Club 11 years ago. We had our people as part of that process, and each team member took on a role and responsibility to make our job happen. We began to build in processes and systems that someone else could just come in and look and know where to go.

We created a binder of every macro, micro, and process description, which was a living and fluid document for every team member to visit and know where to look for all the systems and processes. This guide helped the new member know what steps in that particular process are. If something went wrong, we knew there was a piece of the process missing and we caught that, and if we suddenly changed something, we added that step into the process.

So this is a living document, especially your process descriptions and micro maps. You’re going to want to change those on a regular basis and you can use that to train, and for teamwork. This made it easy for anyone to step in even though the person was from a different position.

How It Works

If there was an administrative task that needed to get done, and the person was sick or out on vacation, someone else could go to those process maps and figure out the way through that to accomplish the task. So this created, again, this distributed decision-making organization where if a ball was getting dropped somewhere, we didn’t have to wait until somebody came back to pick up that ball and run with it. Any one of us at any time could pick up that ball and do our best with it. I love this because this basically can help you lower costs dramatically. You can eliminate training or supplement the training and you’re not going to repeat yourself 12 times if you have great process descriptions. Each step is updated locally by the step owner, so the person that owns that particular function will update those process maps.

The exciting thing about process maps is the community you can build and the teamwork that can happen as you work these out together. At the crankset group during our leadership meetings, we’ll pull out a process map and check if this is how we do something, is there anything we’re missing or steps to be added. Even after 12 years, we find something new that we can add and write in there. This allows everybody on the team again to give input and look at creating an excellent experience for our client every time.

Something we added recently is a commitment letter. So after the freedom map is done, we create a commitment around it. We create a little ceremony around accomplishing this, which creates some fun, builds relationships, and builds a community.

I hope this inspires you to think about how you can not be the bottleneck in your organization as the business owner and how you can involve the people in your organization. Many of them might know more than you do about a specific thing, so why not tap into their talents, skill, and ability to create an excellent experience for the team within and your client.

Getting You Started

We’d love to have you as a guest at any one of our 3to5 Clubs. We have some face-to-face in Denver, and we have several that are virtual. You can contact us at for more information. I hope this tip helps you get off the treadmill and make more money in less time, creating an ideal lifestyle with your business and creating some significance, and get back to the passion that brought you into business in the first place.

Listen to the full episode here.