Continued from Success with Systems (part II)
Diagnostics – Why SYSTEMS Are Vital
Diagnosing a business is both necessary and potentially unpleasing for the entrepreneur/owner/CEO… If you have a fever, then taking your temperature helps to confirm the diagnosis. One of the reasons I am passionate about systems, is that they not only provide the framework for success, they also serve (if properly designed) as a diagnosis tool—essentially providing a method for improving the “health” of the business.
Systemization, by definition (refer to part I), provides “patterning” for your business system. This means that when all three layers are in place, you have a tool to diagnose or trouble-shoot business challenges (ex. sales are down, morale is not the best, etc.). This, of course, assumes that all three layers have been properly implemented (see part II).
From my practical experience, I have seen this diagnostic process work, first-hand, in a variety of industries. It has worked wonders in a large direct sales organization of well over 100,000 people. I’ve seen used successfully in a high-tech IT firm. Small organizations, such as real estate brokerages, have also utilized this strategy. The age of the organization is not critical either, as I’ve seen cosmetic industry start-ups have success with the very same system strategy. Of course I too have used this in my personal business endeavors, creating successful intellectual capital, publishing, software, training, direct sales, and sales & marketing enterprises.
I thought I would finish off with some simple illustrations to show how systems, and their layers, can be effective for you and your organization:
Symptom: organization is lacking passion, the “work” appears to be too rigid and inflexible…
Potential Solution: Practices need to be designed and implemented that define the required results and introduce flexibilities on getting to the result.
Symptom: the company has had a period of great growth in sales, then a deep negative spiral, all while continuing to do the same things (assuming external factor, like the economy, are not the issue).
Potential Solution: most likely, timely practices are no longer timely and the lack of system principles have prevented the implementation of new practices in a timely fashion.
Symptom: having “success” but an erosion of morale or conviction (passion) is being seen in the team members.
Potential Solution: the lack of a principle-based system, that would bring value to those using the system, is missing. The team needs to be engaged, nurtured, trained, motivated, developed professionally, and inspired on a consistent basis – almost sounds like a principle in itself…
Symptom: results are happening for some sales team members, but not all of the team have the belief they too can have success
Potential Solution: the third layer of the system is missing or lacking. Accountability to both practices and principles are needed, along with value-added content mentioned above.
Symptom: good corporate results with good people on the team, but the people are leaving for other opportunities.
Potential Solution: performance does not appear to be an issue, so the lack of a value-added experience for the team members is missing (as above), and possibly there is a leadership challenge. These are all related to the third layer of the system.
Symptom: lots of business presentations are being booked by the sales department, but sales volume is declining (assuming no other factors relating to product or economy).
Potential Solution: the business system pattern would define the sales principles and process, and most likely there is an issue with the presentation details (poor execution, closing technique, etc.).
The above examples only show one potential solution, and yes, there could be more. It has been my experience that the number one symptom that I’ve encountered centers around the thought that improving practices is always the answer. The reason this thinking is flawed is that, long-term this leads to failure, due to inconsistency (no end in mind, no method to the madness, the “idea of the month” syndrome, etc.). This is where, again, the third layer comes into place—the changing of practices needs to be in alignment with the guiding principles of the business system. The result that I seem to encounter most, is organizations that have constantly changed their practices without principles in place—ultimately leading to staff not buying-in or trusting that the organization knows what it’s doing and where it is going.
So, pulling it all together, it has been my purpose to provide a framework for business success—regardless of the industry. The answer is “SYSTEMS.” Success comes from having a system in place, hence having a system creates success. Appreciating that there are layers of systems, is the key ingredient for getting this to work for you and your organization.
If success, to you, embodies key ingredients such as leadership, retention, duplication, culture, mission, vision, values, patterns, structure, belief, passion, teamwork, and so much more—then deploying a well-orchestrated business system is essential for your long-term success!