Systems exist to make our lives easier, there really is no other reason for having them.
Whether it's your personal system for getting yourself up and out to work, or getting your kids to school on time, or your key business system for taking a customer order, or delivering a product; it should make life easier - for you, or your family, your team, or your customer...or maybe all of those.
If a system doesn't make life easier, it's the wrong system. Fact.
I learned that a long time ago (albeit unknowingly) watching how my mother coped with 5 little girls under 10, while managing the admin for my dad's business, and running the house. Try managing that little lot without effective systems!
It was embedded further into my dna at McDonald's, where systems ran the business, and people learned to run the systems. McDonald's success is all about the systems - if you think it's about the burgers, you've missed the point.
I realised over time, that to make life easier, every system has to have three key elements - it has to be Simple, it has to be Logical and it has to be Repeatable.
Your systems have to be easy to understand.
So many people over-complicate their systems and add unnecessary bells and whistles which they imagine will make the system better. They don't. They just make it more complicated.
Sometimes a system can become complicated over time, often because too many people have been allowed to adjust it to suit their own way of working.
Sometimes it becomes complicated because we build in too many checks, because we don't trust, or we need to control.
With a personal system, we may have just become bored with doing things the easiest way, and decided to 'spice things up'!
Simple is good. Anyone can follow a simple, straightforward system.
Let's be honest, we can all do things that are completely illogical. They seem perfectly logical to us at the time, but to everyone else we've lost the plot!
For a system to be effective, it has to be logical. It has to be reasonable, and make sense to those who are going to use it, not just to you.
The best way to achieve a logical system is to use the 5 Whys.
The first Why should always be 'Why do I have this system?' It may be a system that gets you from A to B...but is B really where you need to be going?
Be sure that it's the right system for you/ your business - something that makes life easier - before moving on.
If it is the right system, then check each step in your system by asking Why four further times. 'Why do we need this step? Why do we do it this way? and so on.
Check your logic at every stage, and if you have a team, involve them in the process too.
You don't create a system for something that you're going to do once and never do again. There was no need for me to devise a system for jumping out of a plane, for example, because much as I loved the experience (once the chute had opened), there is not a cat in hell's chance of me ever doing it again!
But you should have a process or a system for anything that you're going to repeat, even if it's only once a year.
How many times have you gone back to do something that you've done before, and you've forgotten how you did it? You have to go searching through google, or trawl through you tube videos to remind yourself of the best way to do it. And even having gone through this pain, you STILL don't record how you did it to make it easier for yourself next time.
That R in SLR could just as easily stand for Recorded.
Think about the systems you work with every day, week, month and year. You'll have lots, both personally and professionally. How many of those systems could you hand over to someone else, today? You repeat every single one of them, but are they recorded and therefore repeatable by someone else.
Systems exist to make life easier. For a business owner they have the power to free up your time, by having other people run them for you. To have other people run them for you they have to be Simple, Logical, and Repeatable.
How SLR are YOUR systems?
For more information on how MPL can help you visit www.mariannepage.co.uk or contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Marianne is the author of three books, and is currently working on her fourth, whilst regularly writing her blog, we hope you enjoy it :-)