WT 709 Let's talk about systems

The past few Weekly Thoughts have focused on mindset and leadership.

This week we need to talk about systems.

I’ve been working with a couple of clients the past few weeks, helping with recruitment and creating new finance systems. It’s been a big reminder to me of the value of having systems and processes that others can follow when key people are absent.

Let me give you some examples.

Client #1 – a key support team member resigned after having worked with the company for 3 years. A team of sales professionals relied on the support and whilst they are actively recruiting for a replacement, the sales team now find themselves having to complete the administrative tasks as well as focus on sales.

Client #2 – it’s the end of the school holidays and a long term employee wanted to take a week’s leave to enjoy with her children. The employee works in the finance team. Obviously not everyone in the team has the same permissions to access the company finances so the employee ended up logging in just about every day to complete some tasks.

These companies represent most of the companies I work with.

Most are small, family owned businesses, unlike the then NSW Department of Motor Transport, where I was employed as a 17 year old typist.

After a few years working in the one motor registry, I transferred to what was known as “Relief Staff”. This meant that I travelled around NSW, relieving workers who were on holiday or sick leave.

Every motor registry had the same systems and processes so I could turn up at any registry and do the work.

I was shocked when I left the government to work in small business.  “Where’s the relief staff?” I would ask. “What do you mean my work will be waiting for me when I get back?”

This never happened in the motor registry.  The relief staff did the work and for the most part, when we finished each day and balanced the cash register, we went home and forgot about work until it was time to do it all over again the next day.

This doesn’t happen in small business.

There isn’t the luxury of extra staff because there aren’t enough offices or roles to keep someone employed relieving for 11 months of the year.

So, talking systems, processes and procedures, the best ones are those that are documented in such a way that anyone could follow the procedure and get the desired outcome, even if they have never done it before. They might be slower at first, but at least they could finish the task.

What are your systems, processes and procedures like?

Are you using looms or other screen capture applications to show people what they need to do?

Are you using programs like otter.ai to transcribe an audio or video recording?

Are you using document management systems like TKO to keep all of your procedures in one place, that’s available 24×7?

Are you automating your processes or still wasting time doing things manually?

It’s time to talk systems and if you’re interested to follow the method I use when I consult with systems clients, you can purchase a copy of my book The Loyal Lieutenant: How The Second-In-
Command Brings The CEO’s Vision To Life by going to https://shirleydalton.com/books or you can search Amazon for an electronic copy.

It’s time to talk to systems.

Let 2024 be the year you get yourself, your team, your work and your business systemised, so you too can go on leave and fully rest and recharge without thinking about work.

P. S. Invite your friends to get the Weekly Thoughts delivered directly to their inbox. Go to https://shirleydalton.com/weekly-thoughts.

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