I’m a stickler for systems, always have been, always will be; although I think my time in the navy played its part too in reinforcing those values so much so that today it’s in my DNA. When I was at sea for a living everything had to be organised precisely, from the crew’s monthly watch patterns, to firefighting drills, because you simply can’t pick-up the phone and call the fire brigade. Without a system that allowed everyone to fulfil his role precisely, mistakes which result in injury or the loss of life could easily occur. These days I still go to sea but in much smaller vessels as a leisure pursuit. However the same remains true, without systems and protocols the risks for error and ambiguity remain.
In business we still need systems and processes; sometimes to keep people safe at work (as in the case of Health & Safety legislation), but in many other situations too. Take for example a manufacturing environment, here operating inefficiencies would be inevitable without clear and effective processes. In such situations the company (and its employees) will simply not be operating to their optimum level and in turn will create problems for your customers and your bottom-line.
Recently I was contracted to look at just such a set of issues for a London based glass processor. The management team knew what roles people within its business fulfilled, but where things fell down was that the people themselves didn’t necessarily know everything that was expected of them. Understandably, different operating methods were adopted throughout leading to many members of staff unwittingly getting involved in the work of others. It had not quite reached a state of chaos but it was getting very close.
Whilst the route to solving these problems is varied it always includes the development of a small library of Process Flowcharts; these are the maps that help to remove the gaps! As a marketer I loathe gaps simply because of the detriment they bring to aspiring businesses. Businesses whose owners have a reached the limit but who care so passionately to want to resolve these problems. You might recognise some of these factors in your own company?
Where I could see quite clearly the steps necessary to take to resolve these issues, the small management team couldn’t, simply because they are so embroiled in the day-to-day operational problems they just didn’t have the time to necessary to tackle them. Whether that’s due to my time at sea or just my DNA, I don’t know. What I do know is that I’ve made a difference to the lives of both the management teams and the employees under their control and that’s a great thing to be able to do.
Recently, I found myself working with a different client in a completely different sector who had exactly the same problems, a lack of systems that people followed to the letter. The directors had become so accustomed to dealing with the rubbish that gets in the way every day that they could no longer see what it was they were trying to accomplish. The stories of these two businesses are not unique they appear in every sector and in companies of almost every size.
If this sounds like yours too, then having the support of a fellow business owner who’s use to implementing and working to an agreed set of guidelines will be beneficial to you to. For an informal exploratory conversation and to review some of our testimonials please do get in touch.