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You Probably Have a System, Even When You Think You Don't

One of the problems that many successful business owners share with me is the fact that they are busier than ever and yet they are not getting the equivalent results in return for their increased efforts. 

They are working harder, smarter and better, they say, than ever before and yet their results - revenues, sales, profitability, productivity and the like- are either the same or have not increased proportionately in relationship to the efforts that are put into the business. 

When they ask me what the solution could be, I sometimes ask them a question. I ask them what their system is like. Their response often is that they don’t have a system. Or that they do have systems but only in certain area of the business and not in others or that their systems are not yet fully developed. 

At that point, I often tell them: You probably have a system even when you think you don’t, especially when you don’t think you have them. It’s just that the systems that you do have are not producing the results you hope.

I always get a quizzical look in return so I give them an example.

Think about something that you repeatedly do. For example, let’s take a mundane activity we all perform - or should perform - at least once a day: brushing our teeth. 

If you made a video of you brushing your teeth for the next 30 days and watched it, you will notice a pattern. Perhaps it’s whether you pick up the tooth brush first or the tooth paste. Perhaps it’s how you squeeze the tooth paste out of the tube: from the top, bottom or middle. Perhaps it’s whether you put the cap back on after you use it or leave it on the counter-top for your spouse to clean it. Perhaps it’s the way you clean up the counter after you are done. 

That pattern you notice is your “system” for brushing teeth. Why do you use that particular system? Because it works for you and makes you effective at doing an activity you must do every day. 

Why is it important to look at this idea of a system? Because systems - activities performed consistently - produce results. If we don’t like the results we get, something must change in that system. 

Back to the example of brushing teeth. If my teeth aren’t white enough, I must do something differently in the way that I brush my teeth to get a different result: whiter teeth. May be I need to change the tooth brush or the tooth paste. Perhaps I need to add a new component into the system, flossing for example. And when I run out of options available to me in improving my system, I may have to see an expert, a dentist in this example. 

Think about a specific area of your business where the results you are getting are not satisfactory. Perhaps your sales revenues are not where you would like them to be. May be your product quality is not the standard that’s satisfactory to you or your clients. May be your client satisfaction has waned a bit and you would like to bring it up to a higher level. Or your expenses are out of control and your cash flow isn’t what you think it should be. 

In all of these cases, if you examined your system - the repeated things your people do on a consistent basis - you will most likely find the cause of that lack in performance. And once you find the cause of the problem, the solution can’t be that far behind, even in the rare circumstance that you need an outside help. 

One of the things we do at Awayre, LLC is to help you examine and document your important systems with the intention of helping you figure out if it’s bringing you the results you want. In most cases, we also give you ideas, strategies and recommendations to help you improve your system and what it would take to bring about that improvement. 

Ultimately, we like to move to the idea of Unsystem which is when the system is mastered so well that we forget that we even have a system. In other words, the system becomes so second-nature that it becomes a habit and the work become effortless. 

The system that you had but didn’t know you had is the Unintentional System. When we examine the system, fix its flaws and put in place a new system, it’s the Intentional System. When that new system becomes a habit so that much of the work becomes unconscious and effortless, once again we have a system that we don’t think we have but this time with a difference: It produces better results. 

Do you know how action oriented your business is compared to, say, being strategic? Take Business Health Check. It’s free and comes with a Strategy Handbook to look at your business in a way you may have never done before. Click here to get started. 

Copyright 2014 Bhavesh Naik. All rights reserved.

Bhavesh Naik is the Founder and Creative Director of Awayre, LLC, a management consulting and human resource development firm specializing in activating the hidden power of a business process by engaging its people’s awareness. Awayre, LLC is a pioneer in bringing human awareness to the field of management and human resource development as its structural and fundamental component.

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