What Makes a System Work?

Watch our latest video blog!

This was filmed at a Strategic Retreat for local small business owners.  Here is the transcript: What makes a system work? It's very common for me to talk with a business owner and they'll say something like, "Yeah we have a system, but none of our people follow it." And so, I start asking why. What's going on? Why do they not follow it? And it almost always comes down to one of these five things. These are the 5 things that make a system work. Number one is expectations. Have they been documented and have they been communicated? Do you have a written procedure? Do you have a checklist? Have you gone over it, have you trained them? Often times, that's the problem. They don't have it. But maybe it's documented. The second thing that makes a system work is rewards. Some people feel rewarded by a, you know, production. They produce something and they just like, ah, you know, this is it. Some people feel rewarded by a pat on the back. Some people feel rewarded by the commission, you know, some people. You know, what reward do they get for following this procedure? And maybe it's something as simple as saying, you know, um, "If we all hit this customer satisfaction goal, we'll all get a bonus," or something. And they way we hit that goal is follow the procedure. The third thing is just the opposite: what are the consequences? If an employee does not follow the procedure, what do you do? Do you ignore it? Do you just let it go? And so, accountability is huge. You've got to have consequences. And the first consequence is a conversation. We sit down and we talk. Okay, it didn't go the way it should've, did you do step one, did you do step two, did you do step three? And you find out, did they do it. If you find out they didn't do it, then it's a verbal warning. Listen, you've always got to do this. This is the way we do it. And then, if they fail to do it again, what's the second consequence? And typically, that's a written warning. We've talked about it on this date, today, I'm going to write it down. Because this is serious. It's critical that you follow the procedure. And then the third warning, if it happens a third time, that's typically the time to let the employee go. But the cool thing is, if you have trained them and documented the correction process, and they still haven't done it, and you've let them go, then you've done your due diligence as an employer. And there's not as great a chance that there's going to be some kind of unemployment claim against you. So document it, have real consequences. The fourth thing that makes a system work is communication. Do people understand, have they done it, have you told them? Have they got it in a written form? Do they have a checklist to follow? And then the last one, this is always a biggie, is the behavior of the leader. I remember one client I worked with, he was telling me nobody followed his system. And so I was going through these kinds of things, and it didn't seem to, it looked like he was doing most of these. But then I just stopped and I said, "Is this how you do it?" And he goes, "Oh no, I don't do it that way." You know, he didn't follow his own procedures. So if you don't set the example, and follow the procedure, it's kind of ridiculous to think that your employees will. So those are the key things that make a system work.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply