With almost 90% of all business “problems” being “people” related, we need a better approach, one that eliminates the emotions, and the blame game. One that solves the problems and prevents their recurrence.
By “problem,” I mean a series of recurring events over which you feel you have little or no control. Problems happen when something is going wrong and your efforts to fix it isn't working. Many problems have an emotional charge: exasperation, blame, confusion, chaos, annoyance, even anger are typical outward symptoms. Some people try to take the emotional edge out of problems by calling them challenges.
How to fix problems to keep them fixed
We need a better approach, one that eliminates the blame game and solves the problems, and prevents their recurrence.
The solution is to ask yourself every time there is a problem …. “what kind of system is missing rather than who is to blame for it”. This is not to say people are never the problem. Often they are. But removing the blame game gets you to the real problem.
A system is only a step-by-step process, that you can use to ensure consistent and reliable results in every area of the business. With a “system solution approach,” you enable yourself to eliminate problems and prevent their recurrence.
From many studies, it’s obvious that having a good business system has a huge financial advantage because a business with good systems can easily increase efficiency by up to 30%.
Other key benefits of a business system:
- Ensure customer service is always consistent.
- Increase effectiveness and efficiency
- Allow you to develop a salable asset.
- Reduce most of the risk for you as a business owner,
- Allow you to employ staff with lower levels of skills.
- Speed up the time for them to become productive
- Enable you to leverage your time, your effort,
Why some people don’t systemize.
How to create systems that solve problems and keep them fixed
Paul Lemberg and Tom Matzen cal this The Quick Fix in their book “Earn Twice As Much With Half the Stress” where they share seven steps for systematizing business problems.
Moving from your current habits into a set of optimized systems will inevitably involve some frustration, but I believe you’ll see fantastic results. Using systems to solve problems, the frustration soon disappears. It just melts away.
7 steps for systematizing business problems
Step 1: First, state a single problem.
Just one. You may be experiencing several problems in your business, but you can only work on one at a time. You must write it out in a short statement. If you state your problem the wrong way it can lead you in the wrong direction, possibly to a solution that doesn’t cure the problem.
Step 2: Restate the problem as a missing system or system element.
This is extraordinarily important. Here are examples of a system directed statement:
- “We are missing a system to keep track of people sales results,” Or,
- “Productivity is suffering because of socializing on the job,” Or,
- “A system is needed to keep improving quality control.”
Step 3: Third, measure how much the true problem costs.
This involves asking questions and collecting data:
- How is this specific problem impacting the business?
- When does the problem usually arise, what happens, and how often?
- What does it cost in dollars?
- It’s important to get the real numbers.
This is particularly important for people who know their business well because they’ll assume they know what the problem is instead of allowing the data to reveal the situation. Sometimes, problems can become emotional, so it’s important to dig deep and obtain the real hard facts.
Step 4: Identify the solution of the general system.
As soon as you’ve reached a clear understanding of the specific, system-directed problem you want to fix, the solution becomes fairly obvious.
Step 5: Decide when you would want to fix this.
Are you committed to fixing this? Is the cost of the fix justifiable? Determine whether the problem is worth fixing now.
Step 6: Define the specific system solution.
Define a specific system solution and the metrics to measure the results. Some systems will be simple and quick to create and install. Some may require days and some months.
Step 7: Implement the solution.
Step seven is to implement the system and start measuring results. Don’t expect immediate perfection. Great systems take time but will give you immediate improvement, just by thinking through the process. The goal is to install systems that produce consistent, predictable, and reliable results.
The four rules for systematizing business problems
The first is extraordinary systems, ordinary people. Systems should be designed for people with the lowest appropriate skill levels for the job, not for the experts.
Rule number two: If it’s difficult, something is wrong, and when it’s easy, you’ve got it right. Go into a McDonald’s during peak hours; look at the way the staff interacts. Twenty people move back and forth rapidly, rarely getting in each other’s way. Everyone knows what they’re doing. Remember, we’re talking about a business largely staffed with teenagers.
Rule number three: To be a system it needs to be written down. As a business coach, we have over 1,200 pages of operations and training manuals, checklists, processes, blueprints, and flow charts. Until it’s written down, it’s just a notion in your head.
Rule four is to deliver consistent predictable results every single time. If you go into a Macdonald’s or Starbucks, whether in Vancouver, San Diego, or New York, your coffee and food will taste the same because their systems are designed to produce consistent results.
Now it is your turn. hope the information could help you in solving your business problems. If you need help let us know.