Are Your Systems All Go?
No organization can exist without systems for conducting their business.
Systems are a wonderful tool that should augment the people in your organization. They are the oil to make your teams work smoother and more effectively.
A good leader will know when their systems break down and work to resolve them. A great leader will know at any given time if their systems are broken before they actually break down.
Consider this hypothetical scenario.
A retail company has certain systems in place to foster a specific level of customer service. After a period of time, new labor matrices get implemented over time in cost-saving measures. These matrices are purely numbers driven, and do not account for the relative productivity and skill set of any particular store’s team. After these are implemented, they place a strain on the level of service, which starts to slip. Management sees the drop in service levels, and tells the staff to get back on track. But as long as the labor matrix is in place, the service continues to wane.
What can result if left unchecked is a downward spiral of management coming down on staff as they try to go by the systems in place. Staff feel they can’t measure up to all the standards, and start to disengage. Productivity and sales decline, and turnover costs go up.
A sharp leader – or sharp team of leaders – will measure each system and run them through to see if they fit the overall goals of the company.
Here’s a quick checklist to assess if all of your systems are truly “GO”:
- Run the systems through some models. Do they sustain themselves? Achieve the goal? Help or hinder the staff?
- Is there training involved in the entire process? Not just for management, but for all staff, to help everyone be on the same level of understanding?
- Do any of your systems compete against each other (such as in our example above)? Is there a clash of systems that leads to unattainable results? Or attainable results but unsustainable pressure on the teams?
- Does leadership interact with the people AND the systems to get continuous feedback. Can they see where the trajectory of the working systems are heading? Are things steadily improving overall for everyone’s benefit in the organization? Or are there warning signs that systems will crash and burn in the near future?
- Is there a continuous improvement assessment for each system? Is this based on feedback, results, and changes to the industry or company goals? Or do we rest on systems that are outmoded and don’t fit the needs of the organization?
- Are any systems broken? Have holes? Need revamping? Or just need to be tossed aside and replaced? Or tosses aside as other systems overlap the process?
- Do your systems enhance culture among your staff, and your customers?
- Did you KYSS your systems (Keep Your Systems Simple)? Are they convoluted and bog down processes, making the workflow harder and harder to manage?
- Do your people work around the process because it’s more expedient, or have unwritten rules in which to make those processes happen?
Just to re-emphasize – systems should augment the people and the vision. They are never the be-all, end-all. They are merely a tool in the hands of your team to help make things easier.
Keep Your Systems Simple. Make sure they are “GO”!!