Before I get too far into the topic of creating systems to grow a healthy organization, we must first cover importance of systems. I can summarize in one sentence. Successfully achieving your vision is determined by the strength of your systems.
Let me say that again…
Successfully achieving your vision is determined by the strength of your systems. Systems are more powerful than vision statements.
What’s talked about in the halls is more powerful than what’s written on the walls.
Systems create behaviors, behaviors become habits, habits drive outcome. Outcome is what leads to successfully achieving the vision. (Behaviors > Habits > Outcome > Achievement)
This sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Well, guess what? You already have systems in place!
Whether you realize it or not, your business and personal life both have systems driving them. Let me explain this further.
Systems are formed in one of two ways:
#1. Created Systems
Intentionally setting the standards and practices of your own life and the life of your business.
#2. Tolerated Systems
This is how most people live their lives. We’ve tolerated “the way things are” and have adopted them as our systems.
Systems are a result of what you’ve created or tolerated. Even if you do not notice, you have systems.
Here’s my personal (real life) example.
I used to roll into work around 9:30 am – 10:00 am. I liked to stay up late, but never really had a reason to. Not only that, but I wasn’t productive at all in the evenings. The morning rush of e-mails and phone calls starts around 9:00 am at my company. When I used to show up after that time, my full-time job was putting out fires, responding to e-mails, and catching up on phone calls. I never got much done.
Plus, I had to stay late because I was starting so late. I couldn’t get much done at home because of it. I was always behind. But I always just said “this is just the way it is.” That is not true at all.
Years ago, I woke up and decided it was time to change. So, I changed. I created systems instead of just tolerated what I had become my normal way of life.
I am now the first person to arrive in my department every morning. I beat the morning workload rush, and now I’m working on big picture projects and really getting things done. Plus, I leave work at a great hour and I can accomplish everything I always want to do after work.
Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. “I don’t have time to create systems.”
That’s not true. You’re not too busy to create systems.
If you’re too busy to create the right systems for your organization and personal life today, then you’ll always be too busy. Why? Because being too busy to focus on what is important is part of your current, tolerated system.
Take this seriously. Get control of your life, your time and your ingratiation.
How to Create Systems to Grow a Healthy Organization
Definition of systems: How you accomplish the what.
Let’s talk about the what first.
Ask yourself this question: Is my vision clearly defined and clearly communicated?
A great way to find out if your vision is clear is by asking your organization what the vision is? If members of your organization each say something different, then you have a problem.
You must get everyone on the same page. Remember, systems are defined as how you accomplish the what. If you and the people don’t know the what, you cannot create systems. You would only be running aimlessly.
Once you have clearly identified the vision (what), you can begin to develop systems (how) around it.
The strongest systems are created by answering these three questions:
#1. What should be expected?
#2. What should be rewarded?
#3. What should be corrected?
These three things are what protect and guide the systems that you create.
What should be expected
What do your teams need to be doing every day to continue to achieve the vision? This could be putting out fires, answering the phones, responding to emails, but also building the business. This is what you need to do to continue to get closer to the vision.
What should be rewarded
You reward when someone exceeds the expiation. You should reward immediately and as often as your expectation is exceeded.
What should be corrected
Equally as important is corrective action. If the expectation is not met, it needs to be corrected as soon as the expectation is not being met or there is a problem.
How to track the systems that you create
Develop a metrics system to track your key performance indicators (KPIs). This is how you can track the success rate of your organization. These metrics, that you build around your systems, are what will lead you to successfully achieving your vision.
Here’s an example. If you have a sales team that is doing cold calls, track the amount of calls they are making per day. If the expectation is 10 calls per day on the KPI then reward the people who do 11 and set a corrective action for the people who are doing 9.
Remember to keep KPIs simple! People need to be able to understand and follow what you put in place.
Here’s my real-life example of this. One of the departments that I am responsible for overseeing is shipping/receiving. When I first started leading this department, I asked to see their KPIs. They were complex. The manager and I had to go back to the notes multiple times to figure out what data that they were tracking meant. That’s a problem.
We went through and changed the metrics of the KPIs. We simplified it bye asking, what’s most important? (How many boxes came in the door, how many were received into the system and how many lines were on each of the orders.) Our complex metrics turned into 3 basic numbers. So simple to remember and track.
4 Guidelines for effective KPIs:
#1. Keep them simple.
#2. Keep them visible.
#3. Track them regularly.
#4. Change them when needed.
We all have systems; either tolerated systems or ones we have intentionally created. It’s up to you to decide to begin replacing your tolerated systems with what you create. Remember to track your progress and take it very seriously. Systems lead to successfully achieving the vision. My organization is healthy because of these systems.