Table of Contents
Chapter 2 – A General Outline to Creating Systems
There are basically five steps to integrating systems into your business.
- Recognize your systems. Chances are you’ve already discovered the best way to do a number of things that relate to your business. The first step to making them into systems is by realizing that you have them and that they can be worked on to make them better.
- Examine each system in turn.
- Tweak your existing systems. Now that you recognise your systems for what they are, you might be surprised to find some very obvious ways in which they can be improved.
- Document your systems. This makes it easier to recognize mistakes, to improve the systems when they’re faced with new challenges, and to share them with your employees.
- Maintain your systems. Keep adjusting and tweaking until your systems are just right.
We will go through the creation of three different forms of systems based on the five points above:
- The Big Picture System – Where and how you want to steer your business year by year. As the top dog in your company, this is one that you must write solely by yourself (unless you have partners of course). Then you can share it with employees for feedback. These are the overall goals your business will work toward.
- The Decision System – The principles by which you will make decisions, big and small, that affect your business. Think of this being akin to a country’s constitution. This system is based largely on your ideal version of your business – when customers sing your praises to their friends what do you want them to say?
- The Day-by-Day System – Your daily workflow. This is how you change your business from one that reacts to mistakes into one that is (virtually) mistake-proof. Think of the Day-to-Day system as your assembly line where the real work gets done – first we do A, then B, then C. If D arises, then we hop over to E. You’re going to eventually create one for every type of work process that you encounter in your business. So perhaps one for sales, one for customer complaints, one for filing, and so on. This is one you can share with all your employees – they’re the ones that are going to know the various jobs best after all. This approach also has the added bonus effect of making your people feel emotionally invested in your company – they had input in creating your business’ backbone.
There is one main action you have to take in order to create effective systems – take a step back. Look at your business as a whole and the individual workflows from a bird’s-eye view.
If you’re caught up in the midst of a workflow you’re going to have a much harder time recognising problems. So look at your systems from the view of a project engineer and not as the worker who tightens the screws or drives the transport trucks.