Are You “Flipping” in Your Business?

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Picture from Loren Kerns via Flickr

This past month an area high school teacher was honored with an Educating Excellence Award.  (The award is sponsored by Perceptive Software and KU’s school of Engineering.)   She is part of growing trend of teachers who have adopted the “flipped classroom concept” and found it to be a more effective way of teaching (and communicating) with their students.    Like it or not as a business owner, leader, or manager at any level, a significant part of your long-term success will be directly tied to how well you are able to teach and communicate to your employees the systems and processes that drive your business.

No business is immune to this.  From the start-up entrepreneur to a business with a 1,000 plus employees, having solid systems and procedures in place reduces mistakes and increases productivity.   The goal isn’t to turn your employees into automatons, but simply to make your business more bullet proof and reduce errors while improving efficiency.

What is flipping?

The traditional classroom has a teacher lecturing to the students during the class period at school.   The student then completes the “homework” outside of the classroom.   Using the “flipped model”, the teacher records a video of the lecture and the students watch the lecture outside of the classroom.  The classroom time is spent doing the actual homework.   It creates an environment for the students to learn at their own pace by being able to pause, rewind, etc. while watching the instructional video.    Conversely, in the classroom it creates an environment where the students can ask their questions, collaborate on concepts, and have their teacher there to guide them when they need assistance.

To some degree, I think many businesses are already practicing this.   If you have ever documented any procedure of your business for future reference, you are already using this model.   But, most businesses have a lot of room for improvement in this area.   In the last week alone, with in our own client base, there have been at least 3 different client instances where the lack of executing a task without a formalized procedure has cost their businesses both time and money.

There are a lot of business owners who still point to their head when asked where something is or how do you know?   If this sounds like someone you know (maybe you  🙂 ), they are using a model with a lot of one-time instructing and then expect the employee (student) to follow the instructions without making a mistake.   If you’re instructing a manager or supervisor who in turn is repeating it to another employee it is easy to see where breakdowns start occurring.    If any of this sounds familiar, you may be ready to start flipping in your business.

How can a business start flipping?

  • Identify 2 or 3 areas where you (or a manager) find themselves repeatedly teaching members of your team a process or procedure.
    • These are the best places to start. When they cost your company profit, loss of a customer, or cause employee conflict.  But keep the first list short no more than three.


  • Identify Acceptable Recording Devices.
    • The great part about this is that today with technology this couldn’t be easier to do. Most cell phones shoot video in 1080 high definition and take great photos for reference.



  • Schedule and Accountability
    • Agree on someone to be accountable for this project. Multiple people may be involved but your success rate will be higher if only one person is ultimately accountable.
    • Create videos or photos with instructions and store them in the cloud.
    • File and label them so they are logical to recall and access.
    • Share them with the appropriate employees for training. (Yes, you may have to pay them to watch the videos!)
    • In lieu of an instructional meeting, have scheduled meeting times to review the assigned video content and answer questions, after the group has already watched the video or viewed the instructional photos.

The great part about this is should the employee (or you) ever need to get a refresher or review a process, they can do so simply by opening the appropriate file and re-watching the video and you or their direct supervisor doesn’t have to be involved.

What do you think?  Are their places in your business where the Flipped Classroom Concept could add profit to your bottom line?   Reduce customer complaints?  Improve employee engagement?   As always we would love to hear your comments in the space below.

Chris Steinlage Kansas City Business Coach