The lever I am referring to in this instance are well documented SYSTEMS. Systems won’t replace people, but they provide the levers for them to do their jobs more efficiently and more effectively; time and time again, with less interference from you, the business owner.
Great systems without documentation however, are only rumors about the way you do things in your business. A procedure without clear directions is little more than an assumption about the way things should be done.
Without documentation, all your tasks, functions, processes, and procedures – the way that you and your staff habitually do everything – are nothing more than good intentions.
In other words, you need to write it down.
You may want to resist this notion.
But how many times have you found yourself telling your team how to do something? Again, and again, and again?
The System for Systems
The work of developing effective systems isn’t truly complete until they are captured, written down, or recorded in some other way, and made readily accessible in an effective and systemic fashion.
5 Steps for Documenting Your Systems:
You need to have a plan for effectively documenting all the key routines you have in your business. And you need to find a balance that works for you.
Since the work of systems documentation will be taking place concurrently with all of the regular daily tasks and operations of your business, it is vital to have a well thought-out strategy. Allowing sufficient time and resources from the start will prevent many missteps down the road.
A 5-step process for developing systems for your business could look like this:
- Identify your key systems. List all of the key tasks, functions, and procedures you can think of. Enlist the help of your team. The goal is to be as complete and comprehensive as possible.
- Draw up a “systems diagram.” Create a diagram of all the systems in your business: existing systems and those that need to be created. Typically, most of your core systems will be in these three essential business processes: client fulfillment, lead conversion, and lead generation. You’ll also need to identify your administrative, human resources, finance, and even information technology systems.
- Make a prioritized business systems “shopping list”. Based on your systems diagram, simply list all the systems on a spreadsheet that will become a working document for planning and controlling business development efforts companywide. This will serve as the basis of your “Master To Do List” for systems documentation. Prioritise based on the impact of a given system on your customers and how great is the impact on your business, your bottom line?
- Assign accountabilities for documenting the systems. It is quite unlikely that you will have the time, inclination, or even the ability to thoroughly document every system yourself! A significant part of the strategy in this plan is in delegating some or most of this function to a team member, or use an outside provider, like The Trades Coach. This won’t happen overnight. Focus on the key systems that, once implemented, might themselves have the greatest impact on improved workflow. Do that and you’ll gain even more system-development time in the bargain!
- Develop and use a standard approach for documentation. It is important that you provide your team with a standard method for documentation in order to ensure the highest degree of consistency. So, starting them off with some samples, supported by training and timely feedback is essential to avoid wasted time and unnecessary frustration. It does not necessarily need to be in lengthy documents. Checklists, photographs and video may be more suitable to get the message across.
Not the Holy Grail
Good systems – effective, dynamic systems – are utterly essential to building and sustaining a great business; but merely having those systems is not the solution for a dysfunctional business.
The systems are levers for your people, not their replacements!
Your business has enormous potential because you and your people have enormous potential! And when your people have the freedom to find the most effective way to complete their job, not only will they take pride in their work, they’ll never stop making the systems better.
I love developing and documenting systems. Contact me at email@example.com to start your journey to business freedom through better systems.