“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”
Your business systems are a very important part of your company. They are, however, more than simply instructions on how to do things in your business. For businesses with a history of system development and improvement, the systems they have created embody hard work, hard lessons, and hard thinking.
Mature systems are the result of experienced people contributing over time. The detailed understanding of a system that comes with experience can lead to subtle but impactful improvements. Sometimes a succession of individuals has contributed to the evolution of a system. Only by documenting the systems are these improvements retained.
The alternative? Employees keep it in their head. They join your business, take a long time to learn their job – then they leave. If you are lucky, they stay long enough to briefly train the new hire. If you are unfortunate, you are stuck showing the basics to the new hire and they get to figure out the rest on their own. Is it any wonder it’s hard to get more than just mediocre performance?
Hard Lessons Learned
Sadly, too often, systems are implemented after easily preventable tragic accidents. Many accidents can be prevented by creating systems for performing dangerous jobs. Training, procedures, checklists, and safety requirements are just some of the ways a system can ensure safety in the workplace.
Not all hard lessons are tragic. Some are just costly or painful. Ever had a sales proposal rejected? Lost a contract due to poor fulfillment? Hired the wrong people? Overpaid for vendor products or services? If so, you know the pain (financial and emotional) that these events cause.
Put systems in place and eliminate or drastically reduce these types of mishaps. Land more sales with an effective Sales Proposal system. Deliver high customer satisfaction with high performance Customer Fulfillment systems. Hire the right people the first time using your Recruitment system. Get the best vendors and pricing following your Vendor Sourcing system.
Best practices are proven ways to get things done better. You discover them through trial and error, or with careful testing, measuring, and innovation. Either way, over time, and always with a cost, your business figures out the best ways to do what it does. Don’t squander the effort by not recording the lesson learned. Use systems to retain your best practices so they can be followed repeatedly, and not just when the most experienced person does the job.
Proprietary Techniques and Methods
McDonald French Fries were the result of much systematic development. Your business may have techniques and methods that make your business special. Use systems to consistently deliver your uniqueness to customers.
Plain Common Sense
The problem with common sense is not everyone has it or uses it. Make it part of a system and it will become common sense applied.
“Wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up all by itself.”
– Tom Wilson
Don’t Let Another Year of Effort Slip By
Stop letting your business wisdom slip away. Start documenting your systems now, this year. Don’t let hard earned lessons fade away – keep improving your systems. Make creating and improving systems a priority, not a spare time activity. If you are not sure where to start, begin here.