How Setting Operational Structures Can Promote Efficiency in Business

We all want to improve efficiency in our company operations.

A crucial way to ensure we get this is by setting operational structures, as this episode’s guest, Jennifer Imion, explains on today’s episode of the Process Breakdown Podcast with Dr. Jeremy Weisz.

Ms. Imion and Dr. Weisz discuss the application of these structures at Mavin Records and how it’s helped improve efficiency and their global image, how talent is recruited, how steps are taken to determine if new hires are a good fit, and various other topics.

Listen to the audio interview

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Show Notes:

0:06 – Introduction

0:26 – Dr. Jeremy Weisz shares the best solution that makes documenting standard operating procedures drop-dead easy, highlighting a 14-day free trial. No credit card required.

1:57 – Dr. Weisz introduces Jennifer Imion, director of operations at Mavin Records, and talks a little about who she is.

3:07 – Ms. Imion talks about Mavin Records and what they do.

4:38 – Ms. Imion describes what the company’s focus was before the pivot to media.

5:49 – Ms. Imion talks about the music academy at Mavin Records.

7:41 – Ms. Imion talks about things she considers when hiring/bringing on talent.

9:10 – Ms. Imion explains how she assesses whether or not someone is a cultural fit with the team and company as a whole.

11:14 – Ms. Imion describes the different assessment processes to determine if a candidate will fit well in the team.

12:19 – Ms. Imion talks about the challenges that kids growing up face with their parents pushing them toward certain works in an ever-changing society.

13:40 – Ms. Imion talks about setting operational structures for music development.

16:14 – Ms. Imion shares her favorite software and tools to use in the business.

17:00 – Ms. Imion gives advice on some things people should consider doing if they want operational efficiency and creating smooth operations for their own company.

17:55 – Ms. Imion explains the artwork on her shirt (The Mavin Company logo and RED logo), signifying their collaboration to help provide funds for people with AIDS.

18:46 – Ms. Imion talks more about the collaboration with RED, and what they’re doing for Africa and people with AIDS.

19:54 – Ms. Imion describes what she’s seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, transitioning from on-site work to off-site work.

22:19 – Ms. Imion shares places online where they can be reached.

23:43 – Ms. Imion explains how the company operates globally, and what the reception has been like all around the world.

24:40 – Outro

Guest Profile:

Jennifer Imion of Mavin Records

Jennifer Imion is director of operations at Mavin Records, Nigeria.

She is a results-driven, creative business leader with over six years of experience creating business solutions. She studied chemistry at Igbinedion University, Okada, Nigeria, and got her master’s degree in science at Heriot-Watt University.

Transcript of the interview

Speaker 1: Welcome to the Process Breakdown Podcast, where we talk about streamlining and scaling operations of your company, getting rid of bottlenecks and giving your employees all the information they need to be successful at their jobs. Now let’s get started with the show.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, host of the Process Breakdown Podcast, where we talk about streamlining and scaling operations of your company, getting rid of bottlenecks and giving your staff everything they need to be successful at their job. Jennifer I always point to other episodes because they’re fun and people like them. David Allen of Getting Things Done, Michael Gerber of the E-Myth and many, many more. If you geek out on operations and systems and hearing from COO’s, check out more episodes of the podcast.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: And before I introduce today’s guest, this episode is brought to you by SweetProcess. And Jennifer, I don’t know if you can relate, but if you’ve had team members ask you the same questions over and over again, and maybe the tenth time you spent explaining it, well, there actually is a better way. There’s a solution.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: You’ve met Owen before, you’ve communicated with Owen. SweetProcess is a software that makes it drop dead easy to train and onboard new staff and save time with existing staff. And not only do universities, banks, hospitals, and software companies use them, but first responder government agencies use them in life or death situations. And we actually had them on the podcast to talk about how they use SweetProcess. It was really interesting.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: So you can use SweetProcess to document all the repetitive tasks that eat up your precious time. You can focus on growing your company and your team and empowering them and sign up for a free 14 day trial. There’s no credit card required because Owen is a nice guy. You can go to sweetprocess.com, sweet like candy, S-W-E-E-T process.com.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: And I’m excited to introduce today’s guest Jennifer Imion, she’s Director of Operations at Mavin Global, and she is known for her painstaking attention to detail. She creates a functional but fun workplace that boosts employees morale, enhances productivity by reviewing processes. Imagine all of that. Jennifer it’s about reviewing processes and knocking the socks off of the artists and clients. And I would say, even if you’re the creative types, we all still need a process so that the creativity can flow. And if people have not heard of Mavin Global, Mavin Global is one of Africa’s leading entertainment companies. It was founded in 2012 as a record label by legendary Afrobeats producer, Don Jazzy. And Mavin Records produced some of the definitive music and artists, such as Wande Coal, Tiwa Savage and Reekado Banks. Thank you for joining me, Jennifer.

Jennifer Imion: Yay, thank you for having me, Jeremy.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: You know, I want you to start [crosstalk 00:02:56].

Jennifer Imion: And you pronounced all the names well. Wow.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: I’m shocked.

Jennifer Imion: We should invite you over.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Talk about Mavin Global, and what you do.

Jennifer Imion: Okay, I mean you’ve already touched on what Mavin Global is we’ve pivoted from just being a record label to a full African entertainment company, which is led by Don Jazzy, of course, and our CEO Tega Oghenejobo. So what we do at Mavin is, not just unveil emerging artists, but also pivot our current roster and where we see them going. Right. Mavin also tries to take care of training of the staff and… Sorry, I’m a little bit nervous. We partnered with Kupanda. Let me start from this point, we partnered with Kupanda. Kupanda came in, invested in us, and that’s why we pivoted to an entertainment company. And this has brought various business initiatives, from content shooting to having most of what labels outsource to in-house. So that’s the full general.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: No I love hearing that. It’s interesting to hear about pivots and changes. So talk about before the pivot and after. What were the differences or things that carried over the same? What did it look like before and then after the pivot?

Jennifer Imion: Okay. So before, we had to outsource everything. Even getting a new artist, the artists can come with their cousin or whoever found them and say, “Oh, this is my manager. This is who I’m going to go working with”, we’ll have to go and rent certain equipment or speak to certain producers. And we have a whole lot of things in-house. So we have artist management in house, which takes care of having managers on standby. So for every new artist we unveil, we have a manager that’s going with them. We’ve also created a Mavin Academy for emerging artists, providing resources and other things that can help them harness full potential of their career. We also have an in-house content production team. So instead of renting or going to rent spaces to shoot content, we have a studio, a full complex that has the studio for shooting content. Studio for recording. Studio for rehearsal. So these are the things that happened when Kupanda came in to Mavin. Yes.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: So talk about the academy a little bit.

Jennifer Imion: Okay. So the academy… Don jazzy and the A&R team really spearhead that. Where we spot emerging artists, we bring them in like, whatever you think you know about music, let’s tear it down. Let’s help you understand the different venture crews of what it takes to be an artist. So you have talents, but talent is not enough. You need to know how to position yourself. You need to have a journey where you’re going to? Where do you want to go to? And we help you get there. And we provide resources that give you better advantages or advantage over people.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: That should be…

Jennifer Imion: So instead of going like a solo act. We come with you like, okay, we have a content team. We can shoot content for you. We can give you a manager. We can give you A&R team that will look after you and all of your brand guide. What you should look like. What you want to look like. We have a commercial team that focuses on partnerships. So what kind of brands should we be looking at working with this artist, so that’s…

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. I love that saying Jennifer, what you just said there, maybe it’s like the title of your next book or something, but… Or the slogan, which is talent is not enough. I think that applies to a lot of things, whether you’re a musician or an athlete in business, there’s so many more additional aspects and just talent.

Jennifer Imion: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: And when we were chatting, before I hit record, you were talking about hiring talent and how sometimes it’s tough to hire talent. So talk about some of the things that you think about when you’re trying to attract and higher talent.

Jennifer Imion: Okay. So because I spear head hiring for Mavin Global, it is one thing to have the raw…, You know how to… Let’s say for an example, I want to do a video editor. It’s one thing to be able to adapt videos but it’s another thing to be a culture fit. So I also look at, are you a culture fit? Because Mavin has a very strong culture. So are you going to come in, and further help us drive where we’re going to, or you’re going to be disgruntled and you won’t understand what we’re trying to achieve yet.

Jennifer Imion: Another thing is, do you have a global perception? We do not want people to come in and just box themselves. No. We want you to express yourself in the best possible way. So how do you think about an idea? Do you have a global mentality? Do you think like an entrepreneur? Because the thing is, we don’t just want to train you to come in and work. We also would like for you to grow and if you say, “Oh, Mavin isn’t home again. I want to start my own team.” We would definitely cheer you on and say, yes, that’s fantastic because that’s what we want at Mavin Global. We don’t just want people to come in and just be regular. We want you to be fantastic at what you do. And that’s the definition of Mavin. Being skillful at what you do.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: How do you Jennifer assess if someone is a good cultural fit?

Jennifer Imion: Okay. So we have certain values that we work by. Right? You have to be innovative. You have to have the group mentality. You also have to… Teamwork is a big deal for us because you have to have a growth mindset. You always have to stay innovative because as you know the music business is a very competitive space. So you always have to look out for the next big thing. What’s the next thing that you can do. Teamwork is very essential because there are different departments and we all have to sort of be on the same frequency to be able to operate efficiently. There’s also transparency if there’s a problem flag it, so we know and we’ll deal with it ASAP. So these are some of the core things they are like oh that’s… We spell it into LIGHTTS with a double T and S so yeah so I assess all of that.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: So say that again. You said LIGHTTS how do you spell it?

Jennifer Imion: LIGHTTS. With double T and S. So in leadership you have to have a leadership mindset. Innovation, you have to always be innovative growth. You have to have a growth mindset. Humility. You always have to be humble because if you’re humble, you will learn. Teamwork, transparency and speed. Because again, music business is very fast paced. So you have to move with time really fast.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: It makes it easier to remember when you have that LIGHTTS with a double T. Is there something… It seems like teamwork is really… Really sticks out to me is I mean probably, all of them are deal breakers to some extent, but to have something that is innovation, you may not… It may be hard to assess that right away, but teamwork is. Are there certain questions you ask the candidates or certain test projects you have them do to assess if they are really embodied teamwork?

Jennifer Imion: Yes. So we do video assessment and live assessments. So we create scenarios and we do a lot of case scenario questions, and just see how you think about it or how you walk around the problem so, that’s where we begin to pick. If there’s a problem, how do you tackle it? When it’s above you, do you reach out to somebody? because that’s teamwork. We want to let people know that it is okay to ask for help if you need one, because we’re a team. And our tagline for this year is winning together. Just to reinforce that parts that it’s teamwork for us.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: And then, the other thing would hiring talent you were saying something about when parents are raising their kids, they’re not telling you to do certain jobs. So talk about that because I think that that goes globally. It’s not just where you’re at, but I think it’s everywhere. Many places in the world. So what were you saying about that piece?

Jennifer Imion: Okay. So you know how you’re growing up and your parents tell you, oh, you need to be a doctor. I want to raise lawyers. I was raised just engineers, but the world has, well, I say changed and COVID didn’t even make any easy… COVID didn’t make it easy for anyone. So people had to tap into their inner strengths and their potentials. Now we have digital marketers, so people can come walk up to you and say, oh, I’m a content creator. Oh, I’m a video editor. So you’re hearing new specializations or new roles and titles coming up. And you’re like, oh, so there’s a Chief innovation officer. What do you do? So it’s just bits and pieces like that. And just educating the public and also our parents that the world is not as you know it. It has changed. It has transformed and processes and technologies have come to change things. And we all have to move with the time. Essentially.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: And then, I went into this discussion Jennifer thinking, okay we are talking about setting operational structure for world-class efficiency of the music business in Africa. So talk a little about the setting operational structure piece.

Jennifer Imion: Okay. So setting oppression up structures, you have to think about it. The music business carries two essential parts. There’s the creative and the commercial part. So on for us at Mavin what we did first step was sort of divide… Not divide but put them in two different locations. So our commercial office is in VI, which is really strategic because again, VI is where all the brands and companies and institutions are located in Lagos, which just gives you that good business presence. You’re ready for business. I’m open for business. I’m here to partner with you. Let’s make money together. You know what? You need to get your products out there. Don’t worry. You can use somebody on my roster to get your products out there. You can tap into their fans and their communities to get your products out there.

Jennifer Imion: Then there’s the creative part. That’s where… It’s like the warehouse, where the music is being created. Sometimes we convert our offices into sets and they look really amazing. You wouldn’t even know that that’s an office. We also have studios. We also rehearsal studios where people can go and train their voices and just be better at what they are doing. Yeah. And we also have a studio for shooting content. So if a lasts minutes geo location, isn’t available you can shoot at the office. So that’s part of just creating operational efficiency and setting up different initiatives to help with hiring.

Jennifer Imion: So we have created commercial and creative internships to help people grow in the career that they want to be. You can tell your parents, oh, you know what? I want to be an artist manager. Then come to me, then we can train you. Use our facilities, use our resources to build your career. So we’re happy to do that as well. That’s one of our initiative and just empowering people. The teams in the office by using data tracking tools, to just check the performance of the artists like Radiomonitor, Chat Metrics, all of that good stuff.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: People love hearing about different software and tools or any that you like, that you use in the business, or with the artists or internally that people should look at using as well.

Jennifer Imion: Okay. So one of them would be Radiomonitor. If you really want to know how your song is performing on a radio, you can use Radiomonitor. Chat Metrics is also fantastic because Chat Metrics covers from Shazam to how many… To how many streams on Spotify, Apple Music. So across that range, Chat M.etric covers that those are two of my favorite and for project management, definitely Asana, but we are exploring other applications so yeah.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Very cool. Anything else, Jennifer, that you think about operational efficiency in general, that would be important for people to know when they’re thinking of creating a smooth operations for their own company?

Jennifer Imion: First of all, if there’s anything you can… If it’s not too expensive, if you can have it in-house you should have it in-house. Instead of outsourcing, just have it in-house because there’s accountability. You can tweak, you can change. You can do anything you like with, when it is within your reach. But if you have to outsource it, you have little or no control to how it comes back to you so like I mentioned earlier, having a content team shooting in-house just makes it efficient for us. And we tend to hire more people which contributes to the company… Sorry, the country’s GDP, which is good as well.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: I want to ask you Jennifer, if people are watching the video, they can see this [inaudible 00:17:49] you’re just going to have to take my word for it, but describe what’s on your shirt.

Jennifer Imion: So what’s on my shirt is a lady with the art on the face forming a mask. This is Mavin logo and RED showing the collaboration with the two companies. This is DANCE (RED) project to save lives. Just tackling… Or sort of helping people suffering from HIV-Aids, by raising funds for them, as we know that COVID is also affecting their health. So that’s part of the initiative that RED is doing for this year.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. And that’s… Talk about that initiative a bit, because that is, I guess you could say special to the company and really powerful.

Jennifer Imion: Yes. It is special to the company. So it’s like a CSR initiated for us because we were like, okay, how can we contribute to not just Africa, but to the global space. So RED is here tackling the problems and vulnerability that COVID has caused people with AIDS crisis. So we partnering with them and creating an album or a playlist that people can go on stream. As you stream all the money’s coming from the streaming goes to them, saving lives. Global Funds is also involved in this initiative by distributing the funds to these people that need help.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: We’re should people check out more about that? Is there somewhere online?

Jennifer Imion: You can go on Instagram. Yes. You can go on Instagram, just hit RED and it will pop up or you can go on Mavin Records page on Instagram you’ll see all of the information there.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: What have you seen with COVID affecting the music?

Jennifer Imion: Ooh. Okay. So first of all, I don’t think any record label in Nigeria was completely remote before COVID, so that transition from just being onsite to offsite, that was a little challenging, but we overcame it by… So we already had a couple of studios there, so we knew that we couldn’t have everybody there. So the people that were required had to be on a schedule. And we did it like a short stay. Like if you’re having a recording, it has to be there for two weeks.

Jennifer Imion: You can’t come out, two weeks so that the 14 days elapse. We made sure that there’s a 24 hours cleaning service on standby. We run only the creative parts of the business because we know of course the commercial parts because of Zoom. Thanks to Zoom, we can of course discuss business with our partners of online. Then for the creative part, we just did the two weeks. If you need to record that, the studio you’ll be there for just two weeks. After two weeks you go, we sanitize the place. We leave it for a few days before we let the next group in. And we try to keep the numbers really low, like 6 persons in two buildings, just to make sure that everyone is safe.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: It makes your job a lot trickier. [crosstalk 00:21:20] You need a lot more different procedures and operations.

Jennifer Imion: Yes. So there’s a lot of checking in, making sure… Thankfully Zoom, Google Meets all of them came really handy. So you just do a quick check-in. Are you okay? Are you guys okay?. Do you need anything? Food delivery services, deliver food at the gate, leave. So everything just became sort of easy because again, that’s one of the strengths we as human have. Adaptability, you can just adapt to situations. Being able to adapt to situations is one of our characteristics as human beings. So we’re able to adapt.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: First of all, Jennifer, I want to thank you. I have one last question before I ask it, I want to just tell people they can check out mavinrecords.com. Learn more about what you’re doing over Mavin Global. Are there any other places online that we should point people towards to find out more about the company?

Jennifer Imion: So definitely Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, where there we are very active on Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Instagram. What’s the handle on Instagram?

Jennifer Imion: Mavin Records.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Mavin Records. Okay.

Jennifer Imion: Mavin Record on Facebook, Mavin Records on Twitter, Mavin Records on Instagram.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: What will we see there? Pictures. Music. What’s on there?

Jennifer Imion: Yeah. You see different content. You see brands that we’ve worked with. You see RED there as well. You see new music. You’d see the artists on our roster. You see the one we unveiled recently. Yeah. You pretty much also see internships, especially if you go to our website, you see job opportunities. We have our career page. We also have partnerships page there. If you have any inquiries, just shoot us a mail. [inaudible 00:23:20].

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Check them out. Check out on mavinrecords.com. Check them out on Instagram and all the other channels. And my last question is about… It’s Mavin Global. I’m wondering how the music in the company… What are you seeing? The reception globally. Like US, everywhere. Obviously I’m in the US. What do you see? And how do you work as a company globally?

Jennifer Imion: I mean, we’ve appeared on the billboard on Times Square a couple of times so that’s just the show presence. And of course we know that Afrobeats is making a global impression. So that has also put us out there. I think the reception has been really wonderful. Even YouTube posted this. You know YouTube?

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah.

Jennifer Imion: Okay. Yeah. They posted this.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: I don’t know many as we know from previous conversation, but I do know that one

Jennifer Imion: Yes. So just accepting Afrobeats, accepting the company artists it’s just wonderful. And we have barely begun there’s so much more coming.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Thank you, Jennifer. Everyone check out mavinrecords.com. Everywhere you can find them and check out more episodes. Thanks everyone. Thanks Jennifer.

Jennifer Imion: Thank you Jeremy, for having me.

Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to the Process Breakdown Podcast. Before you go, quick question. Do you want a tool that makes it easy to document processes, procedures, and or policies for your company so that your employees have all the information they need to be successful at their job? If yes, sign up for a free 14 day trial of SweetProcess. No credit card is required to sign up, go to sweetprocess.com sweet like candy and process like process.com. Go now to sweet process.com and sign up for your risk-free 14 day trial.

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