Many people I speak to can see the benefits of a systemised business. ‘Look at McDonald’s; look at Amazon,’ they say, ‘every really successful business is systemised, absolutely…there’s no getting away from it.’
But when it comes down to their own business you can see them coming out in a rash. The thought of systemising their business is just too overwhelming…
’I don’t have time’
‘I can’t afford it’
‘Systems are just a luxury’
I’ve heard them all.
The reality is that we all already have systems in our business; we all do things! But if the way we do things is not simple, logical and repeatable then we are wasting time and money and not achieving what every Customer (and every business owner) wants – consistency! We’re spending time checking, correcting, complaining, working in our business not on it.
What I’m saying is that we have a choice, either:
a. do things haphazardly, with each team member doing things their way, reinventing the wheel every time a task is done, little being done the way you want it to be or
b. do every task in your business, in a simple, logical, repeatable way.
For me it’s a no brainer.
The question is not, ‘Can I afford to systemise my business?’ but ‘Can I afford not to?’
And the reality is, it’s really not the huge, overwhelming, expensive task you think it is.
You decide you’re going to do it, you start small, with your most routine, every day tasks and you ask three key questions:
1. ‘Is this task simple?’
Could anyone walking in off the street, (if it’s a basic task), or with the necessary technical knowledge (if it’s a specialist task) follow the steps to complete it?
2. ‘Is this task logical?’
Does the way we do it make sense? Can I answer the question, ‘why do we do it this way?’
3. ‘Is this task repeatable?’
Can it be done in the same way every time? Can I train people to do it this way?
A good system is simply a uniform and consistent way of doing things that makes your life easier. If a system doesn’t make life easier – for you, your team, or your customer, then it’s the wrong system.
There aren’t five different ways to cook fries at McDonald’s; there is one way. There aren’t seven different ways to open up the restaurant and get everything set up for the day, there is one way. Everybody at McDonald’s at every level, knows ‘the way we do things around here’ and everything that is done, is simple, logical and repeatable.
Contrary to what they might tell you, McDonald’s franchisees have a great life. They have freedom to choose when they’ll work and when they won’t; when they’ll go to the golf course, or on holiday, or simply stay in bed. They have that freedom because their business has systems, because everybody that works in their business knows exactly the way things work, so they can trust their team to perform consistently every single day.
Freedom, Trust and Consistency – business nirvana!
And the only difference between them and you, is that they have effective systems.
So what are you going to do about it?
Do one thing: Draw a line in the sand and take small simple steps towards a more consistent and profitable business:
Thanks for reading.
75% of the reasons people leave jobs come down to things that managers can influence. According to recent research these are the things that make people want to stay:
1. Having opportunities to grow
One of the best predictors of turnover is whether an employee has had opportunities at work to learn, grown and advance.
‘I am listened to; my opinion counts for something.’
‘My manager discusses my development with me.’
‘I receive training and coaching on the job’
are typical responses of happy employees
It was also found that 92% of these workers also said they planned to be with their companies a year later.
2. Pay and benefits
According to Gallup research, ‘engaged employees are far more likely to perceive that they are paid appropriately for the work they do (43%), compared to employees who aren’t (15%).’ Another factor that can boost satisfaction with pay is when employees feel their pay is fair in comparison to their co-workers. Nothing creates bad feeling as much as when someone in the team is not pulling his or her weight and it’s not being addressed.
3. Good fit for the business and the role
If people have been recruited who match the values of the business they have more chance of being emotionally connected to their work. If they’re then put into roles that maximise their talents and strengths, and give scope for development they are more likely to be efficient, effective and fulfilled.
4. A well-organised workplace
People benefit from knowing, not only what’s expected of them, but also how they fit into the bigger picture. Regular communication from a manager about how the team and business are doing keeps people in the loop and makes them feel involved and valued. Better still when they are asked for input and ideas.
People want to work in a well run workplace. No one enjoys that feeling of lurching from one crisis to another on a regular basis. Working for someone who is passionate but clear headed helps too. Having a systemised business, a one right way to do every task, and thorough training can provide employees with the independence and responsibility on which they thrive.
5. Work life balance
51% of employees would switch to a job that allows them flexitime and 37% to a job that allows them to work at home some of the time, according to research. Flexible working can be good for employees and for business; if people are less stressed and energised, it’s usually good news for productivity and retention. It also sends a clear message of trust, a great morale boost in itself.
6. Job security
People want to feel they’re working in a solid business with a promising future. One way to address this is to share the ‘back story’ of the business and your goose-bump-giving vision for its future. Employees want to feel they’re on that journey with you. And of course the business has to walk the talk; to get results and keep the team updated and inspired by performance.
7. Relationships and culture
When people are involved, encouraged to ‘fail forwards’ and work as part of a happy team, who they socialise with, they are more inclined to stay. Research reveals that if you have good friends at work you’re more inclined to stay. But key too is a good relationship with your manager. You don’t have to be best buddies but since your manager is responsible for so many of the fore-going points it’s essential for a good working relationship.
When you reflect on the above it shows how important it is to have the right manager in your business. They set the tone of the workplace; have responsibility for developing plans and people and for all important communication. They are pivotal, not just for performance, but for employee retention. A bad manager is the number one reason cited for people leaving their jobs. And I don’t imagine that by ‘bad’, people always mean unkind or grumpy. I imagine for many it means ‘well-intentioned but ineffectual’. And I know we’ve spoken many times about accidental managers; those chucked in at the deep end with little training or ongoing development.
And if you think how costly it may be to train your managers (or yourself as a business owner) just add up how much it costs your business every time someone leaves.
Do one thing: If 75% of the reasons people leave jobs come down to things that managers can influence, consider what you’re doing to develop your managers?
It’s that time again. The time of year we all look forward to. Lambs leaping; skylarks singing, daffodils dancing and rabbits doing… what rabbits do!
Spring is in the air!
And for many of us that means being overcome by a strange urge to spring clean; to de-clutter and spruce up every area of our home and garden; maybe even to decorate - hoping we’ll keep it that way for twelve months (or twelve days if we have children or pets!).
So, what about your business? Any plans for a makeover?
Maybe you’ve had a successful year. Maybe you’ve worked your socks off and done ok, but you’ve lost a bit of your mojo. Maybe you feel like you’re just repeating the same year over and over; doing good, but not really evolving, not taking that big leap forward
We all know it’s difficult to grow a business and still have a life.
Success undoubtedly means more money, but it can all too often mean less time - sometimes no time, to enjoy it; you’ve heard the expression ‘cash rich but time poor’.
Success means a bigger team, bigger challenges, more sleepless nights.
Success it seems, is not all it’s cracked up to be.
But it could be, if only we took the leap. If only we realised that we had all the right ingredients in our business, to make that leap - to spring forward to success - to be time and cash rich - to have a team that performs brilliantly whether we’re there or not.
We have the money. We have the people. What we don’t have are the systems; they are the springboard to success. And by systems I mean a simple logical repeatable way to do every task in your business. I learned that at McDonald's, where systems run the business and people run the systems.
Get your planning system focused on your destination, develop a plan with your people to take you there, and you have a route map to follow. Create Simple Logical and Repeatable systems, and train your people to use them, and you have a team who can work independently, consistently every day to your high standards. Set up a performance management system that keeps them on track, inspires and motivates them, and you free yourself to work ‘on’ your business, to concentrate on those key elements, like strategy, which will take you to the next level.
As your business grows you cannot sustain managing it as you used to. As your business evolves so you need to evolve as a business owner. Spring is a perfect time for a new start; so are you ready to spring forward?
Do one thing: visit www.mariannepage.co.uk or contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how MPL can help.
’You can dream, create, draw and come up with the best ideas in the world, but you need people to help you turn your dreams into reality.’
As business owners, we rightly focus a heck of a lot of attention on our external customers and what we can do to give them a great experience. We can often forget that our people are our customers too, and without them, we can’t provide a great service, or grow a successful business.
We want our team to be full of ‘go-to’ people, leaders and high performers. We want them to support us in our vision, to be loyal to the business, to work hard for us; but what do they want in return?
If you had to choose one thing that has the most positive impact on your team what would it be? ‘Communication?’ ‘Involvement?’ ‘Trust?’ What would you be looking for if you were in their shoes?
Below is a list of the top 20 answers to the question, ‘What makes you feel valued at work?’
Take 5 minutes now to think about how your team would rate your ‘delivery’ in each of these areas, and rate yourself from 1-5 (1=unsatisfactory, 2=needs improvement, 3=satisfactory, 4=good, 5=excellent)
How did you do?
Are there a few there that might get rated ‘needs improvement’ or ‘unsatisfactory’? How would you say that affects your people’s performance or your reputation as an employer?
If you’re unhappy with the results, there is no better time to act than now, because as Walt Disney said,
‘You can dream, create, draw and come up with the best ideas in the world, but you need people to help you turn your dreams into reality.’
Value your people, turn YOUR dreams into reality.
Do one thing: We've created a questionnaire for your team members ready to use and a ‘How to' guide of how to use it (please download below).
If you do use it we'd welcome any feedback about how it went and any improvements we can make.
If you feel on a roll our Business Efficiency Test will give you further insight into how each of the key systems in your business is operating - including your customer experience system - and will give you strategies for improving them in a pdf report. Take the test now, to see how you measure up.
Marianne is the author of three books, and is currently working on her fourth, whilst regularly writing her blog, we hope you enjoy it :-)