Editors Note: This is a guest post written by Sarita Johan – Performance Coach and System Specialist with iSystemize. Her opinions are her own.
“But what exactly do you mean by a system? Is it different to a process? And is that different to a piece of technology?“
Have you heard other business owners asking these types of questions before? Perhaps you have even asked them yourself?
“And so how many systems do I need in my business?”
Another really common question.
The good news is that there is in fact only one system you need and you actually already have it.
It’s your business.
Let’s take a close look at what a system is. The diagram below provides a simple explanation.
At the start of the ‘hoof’, that is the door to your business that you open in the morning and at the other end of the ‘hoof’ is the door you close every night.
- What is a system? The bit in the middle represents the system, which is in fact your business. One System = One Business.
- What is a process? The grey circles represent all the processes you have which support the business. They could also be grouped into departments.
- What is technology? The red, yellow and blue triangles represent the technology that supports the business. These could include a CRM package, a piece of accounting software, an applicant tracking system, or any other form of technology.
Capturing business performance
Hopefully everyone in your business understands what is expected of them when it comes to their performance. Of course there will be times when the expectations are a little sketchy.
It could be because of a process change or other internal changes that may not have been communicated clearly; or perhaps just interpreted differently between one person and the next. It makes it difficult to measure if the communication is unclear or is not documented. It denies the business owner the true ability to measure the performance of their business.
For example are you protected when a staff member leaves? Have you captured all their responsibilities easily so you can pass them on effortlessly to the next employee?
In some cases there is no time to extract all the information from the departing employee so we hope for the best and trust we know exactly how they performed their job.
After the departure of an employee we may find that not all the relevant information on how to perform in that particular role had been documented. So we learn from our mistakes and make sure this does not happen to us again.
You invest in finding the right employee, you induct and train them, ensuring this time you cover everything that there is to cover.
You get the whole team involved so that the new employee gets the full picture, even though the team are still not consistent in method and performance. In this scenario you are now not only taking everybody off the job, but without the team being fully aligned and consistent on what it is that they all do, you pass on bad habits, inconsistencies and variations to the new employee.
Preventing Chinese Whispers
Remember playing Chinese whispers as a child? Starting with one sentence or event that by the end of the round is often totally out of context?
The same scenario can occur in our businesses. If we are not clear on what our expectations are, variations in the performance will occur, which in turn can become quite a significant cost to the business.
Whether you are starting out or you are an existing business, whether you have a few staff or hundreds of staff, the fact is that your business is constantly evolving and retention of knowledge is often dependent on the people that the business employs.
Your valuable IP can really only be found in their heads. We all know that people come and go (along with the valuable IP you have paid for with them). And the cost for your business to re-hire and train the right candidate is very expensive.
In our quick fix society we keep adding technology in the hope that things will work out only to find ourselves disillusioned or out of pocket.
Before adding every possible piece of technology, step back and look at your system first.
Ask yourself what is really required in the system?
- Identify and define what it is that the business does;
- Capture all the knowledge and document;
- Communication; and
- Continuous improvement
Sarita Johan is a Performance Coach and System Specialist with iSystemize – a specialist service company with a unique and evolved blend of smart strategies, high performance methods and easily accessible technology allowing any business to transition to predictable and profitable next level performance.