Tuesday, August 14, 2012
The 2 Layers to Every Successful Business System
Are you working in your business or is your business Working You Over?
I've become associated with David Finkel and the Maui Mastermind teams and am just loving the practical common sense business training that David and his team have developed over the past 20 years! I've seen these tactics and systems, when clients have hired McKinsey or other of the world's most prestigious business consulting firms. Rarely have I seen the delivery and execution of common business sense done so well.
Here is an excerpt from his book BUILD A BUSINESS, NOT A JOB by
Stefanie Harkness and David Finkel.
Every successful business system has two layers: the process layer and
the format layer. The process layer consists of the step-by-step process or
procedure you’ve created. Does your system accurately capture the steps
of the process so that when you follow it, you consistently get the desired
The Traditional Way of Building a Business versus the Level Three Road Map 19
result? It does you no good to formalize poor processes.
You want your systems to capture your best practices and winning moves, making it easier for your company to replicate and scale those successes.
The format layer deals with how you package and present your system
to your team. Is your system easy to use? Is it transparent so team members
intuitively understand how to use it? Can it be automated so much of
the work happens via technology instead of manual work? For example,
this could be automated reporting built into your database to track sales
or monitor client orders. It could also be enterprise software that your
team uses to run the entire flow of your business, featuring key systems
built directly into the software. Or it could be simple, low-tech tools like
a script for your scheduling assistant to use when he or she leaves a message
for people, or a standardized form that your receptionist gives each
new client to fill out upon arriving for an appointment.
Done right, systems make life easier for your team and success more predictable for your business.
A Simple Test to Know If You Got Your System’s Format Correct
Having a solid process isn’t enough. You have to package that process in
ways that your team will actually use.
How do you know if your system has a good, useable format?
Ask one simple, unambiguous, incontrovertible question:
Is your team using it?
The real test is whether your team embraces it, ignores it, or
even worse, creates a shortcut system for the task.
Your team members want to do a good job. If your business systems
are simple, intuitive, and effective, they will use them. If they’re confusing,
complicated, bloated, or cumbersome, they’ll ignore these systems
and even create their own “cheat sheet” hybrid versions instead.
But these homespun, individual hybrids normally aren’t scalable. In
fact, they usually only work for that one team member and only as long
as the volume of your business stays relatively level. Plus, even if this
private shortcut works, rarely is it ever captured in a way that the rest of
your business can use it. And when that team member goes, so does that
To get the format layer right, watch the way your team members use,
or don’t use, your systems. Don’t argue, don’t preach, don’t cajole—
simply observe. Take their behavior as critical feedback to refine and
improve your systems. Remember, they’re meant to leverage, empower,
and simplify the lives of your employees, so don’t fall in love
with any specific system. Rather, fall in love with the result it’s intended
20 BUILD A BUSINESS, NOT A JOB!
The Traditional Way of Building a Business versus the Level Three Road Map
25 Effective Formats to Package Your Systems
Here is a quick list of 25 potential formats for you to package your systems
to make them easier and more effective for team members to use.
4. Step-by-step instructions
5. Software that automates a process
6. Databases of key information
7. Pricing lists
8. Templates and samples
9. Common Q & A sheets
10. Written “warnings” for an area, providing how to deal with predictable
11. Spreadsheets with built-in formulas
12. Camera-ready artwork
13. Filing system (paper or electronic)
14. Preapproved vendors lists
15. Standardized equipment and parts
16. Online communication tools for effectively sharing information
(discussion forums, wikis, whiteboards, social networks, etc.)
17. Delivery timetables
18. Job descriptions
19. Instructional videos
20. Project management software with reusable project pathways
21. Reporting templates
22. Organizational charts
23. Pre-approved forms and contracts
24. A timeline or Master Calendar
25. Complete enterprise management software
Would you like a free copy of David Finkel's book excerpted above? Or a free consultation to see if you are right for the Maui Mastermind Coaching and business network program? If so, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org