Let’s talk about the invisible systems that run your business. Every business is composed of systems to ensure things get done. These systems can be created consciously or unconsciously. The most dangerous systems are created unconsciously. Since you don’t know they exist, you don’t know if they help or hurt. In your own consulting business you need to take the time to be aware of how work is done every day. Use this article to pinpoint what systems are helping or hurting.
Do you believe in systems? Some consultants believe that systems are everything and you should have them in place in order to avoid failure. Other consultants believe that systems stifle creativity and should be avoided at all cost. My argument on this matter is that not only are systems important to your business, but you also have invisible systems in place that threaten the success of your business.
Invisible systems are a silent threat. Whether you realize it or not and whether you believe it or not, there are invisible systems at work. You have processes, methods, and procedures that help you get work accomplished. Do you see all of your systems? Do you understand all of your systems? There are predictable systems that are present in your everyday business, regardless of whether you understand them or not. Here are some checks to see if invisible systems are present in your business.
Checking your business for invisible systems. In order to help you check your business for invisible systems, there are a few tell-tale signs you should consider:
You get the same result over and over. You know what your expectations are, but you get a sub-par result every time you try. Something you can’t see might be affecting these results.
You don’t know how a certain result is achieved. You may know that a specific person, software or equipment gives you a result in your business, but you don’t exactly know how that works. It is best to understand what gives you the result and make that a visible system to you.
You only do a specific task when something breaks. You scramble to solve an issue when a customer makes a complaint, software breaks down, or an employee leaves. This happens because you didn’t see the issue coming and you were going day-by-day, instead of working with a process. That occurrence has revealed an invisible system, which gives you the opportunity to take a look at it, understand it and improve it.
Developing better systems. Now that you understand that there are invisible systems at work, we can focus on developing better systems by following a few simple steps:
1. Get a clear picture of what you want. Be clear with your team, clients and vendors so that everyone clear understands your intended results.
2. Create metrics you can believe in. Now that you know what you want, be clear about the steps required to get to your desired end result.
3. Commit to a process. Make sure you see the process all the way through. It is important that you keep going, even it if doesn’t work perfectly the first time.
4. Get help. This is a new situation, so it is important that you get any help you may need. You can ask your employees for feedback or hire a consultant to see if they can provide an outside perspective to pinpoint the invisible system and bring it to the surface.
Be honest. Is there an invisible system running your business? What is it?