How the Right Process Leads to an Exit – with Alister Esam


Some feel like a process can be too rigid and structured that, when applied, it takes away the team’s creativity and freedom. In this episode of SaaS-Story in the Making, host Matt Wolach and Process Bliss’ Founder and CEO, Alister Esam, talk about the importance of processes and how they should be done. Esam shares his knowledge and experiences on how it can impact your business and help with scaling.


Podcast: SaaS-Story in the Making

Episode: Episode No. 200, “Why Processes Aren’t Meant to Control Your Team”

Host: Matt Wolach, a B2B SaaS sales coach, Entrepreneur, and Investor

Guest: Alister Esam, Founder and CEO of Process Bliss, Author of The Dirty Word


Adopt an Effective Process

Scaling your business is always challenging and risky. The processes that worked for you as a startup may not fit your needs in the future. Automation is one of the most necessary procedures you can have. But not everybody adjusts well.

Businesses start adopting new processes to increase productivity, especially on higher demand. However, most executives don’t see every part of it and how it affects the team. Esam explained that they “instinctively want to control everybody.” And this causes employees to “stray away from it.”

Founders are naturally cautious about activities happening in the business. However, micromanaging is never going to work. A process is aimed to help run business operations smoothly—even without your presence. Find one that can work for your business and matches its culture. Adopting an effective process for startups takes several attempts and a lot of trust. But it’s an excellent investment in the business culture that goes a long way.

When it comes to scaling or simply running your startup, there’s no overnight success. Esam advised that determination will help you succeed. It’s not always about hard work but the continuous pursuit to add value to your business.

Diversify, Trust, and Empower Your Team         

The business’ culture is one of the drivers of enhanced performance. To create a productive space, diversity, trust, and empowerment should take place.

Your team holds great power that should be enhanced. Their increased work performance defines output and the efficiency of the process. As mentioned, when a method doesn’t work for a team, they refuse to follow it. And this is a learning opportunity for the management to make changes that complement the team.

A diverse business should not only be aimed at achieving equality in the first place. Esam said that it’s a great way to have varied perspectives in decision-making. However, others may take it differently as “those people really annoy you in meetings” because they tend to disagree. But it’s a great thing to look at things differently because “they’re saying things that you would never get.”

Creating a good work culture starts with how the team is being treated. They have different skills and ideas that should be looked into. Giving them the freedom to participate encourages them to do better. And when they are trusted and empowered in the business, it creates a productive environment with a higher chance of success.


Founders Are Too Into Their Business

The amount of time, education, and hard work founders put into their businesses validates how focused they are on running their startups. But most of them get caught up in the same loop and may find it hard to let go. This causes strain to both founders and team because founders may require the same amount of engagement from their employees.

Founders should find the balance between work and freedom. Having the power to do anything you want takes away the pressure and encourages better performance. Founders and their teams should be given enough autonomy to an extent to act on their own. With an organized system in place, trust in the team, and enough freedom, your business can run smoothly—without the need for your attention 24/7. 

The Dirty Word

Implementing processes is often understood as having to control the environment. Esam said that processes are often implemented wrong, which causes them to collapse after some time. The Dirty Word is a book, written by Esam, that aims to redefine the notion of the process to business owners. It’s a tool that aims to improve the business without destroying creativity and disempowering individuals.  

The term itself may be intimidating, but it is necessary for scaling. Moreover, it doesn’t need to be intimidating. It can be fun and fanciful as long as it works for your team. Esam aims to employ the message that a process should focus on the empowerment of the team rather than controlling them. The process should be towards what they should work on and how they are encouraged to work.


Alister Esam

[15:01] “When you find out why people aren’t following the process, you actually learn something about how you can do it better.”

[18:05] “You’ve got to learn that you’re not going to get everything right the first time. The mistakes will teach you the correct way to do things.”

[19:27] “If you can be patient, there’s magic in what they say because they’re saying things that you would never get.”

[22:43] “When you say process, people just go for the status quo. And to me, it’s the exact opposite. Be what makes you achieve wonderful things in your business.”

Matt Wolach

[07:24] “Sometimes, as founders, as CEOs, we get caught working in the business too much instead of working on the business.”

[20:48] “We don’t know everything, and it’s great to have different mindsets. Great to have different viewpoints and to empower them to want to speak up.”


To learn more about Alister Esam and Process Bliss, visit: 

You can also find Alister Esam on LinkedIn at:   

For more about how host Matt Wolach helps software companies achieve maximum growth, visit

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