Strategy

30th May 2019

“How to make hard work more seamless”

Does your business feel like it has stalled? Has it plateaued? Or flatlined?

Reason # 6

Leverage is a frequently used but often misunderstood word in business. Archimedes is reputed to have said Give me a place to stand, and a lever long enough, and I will move the world”. Speaking to the power of leverage.

I think there are three useful definitions of leverage in business.

  • Ever more with ever less
  • Divide to multiply
  • Do it once and use it for ever

A business without leverage is hard work. There is no additional force, no multiplier effect and no systems so everything takes time and is experimental.

The sixth in my list of reasons why your business may have stalled or flatlined is You don’t have good enough systems to make the ‘work’ easy. I want to refer to systems here. Good systems make the hard work easy, through repetition of well-tried and well-honed routines and routines will set you free.

Systems are a very effective form of leverage. So systemise everything.

Things are most difficult at the first time of trying. The first sales presentation, the first shipment, the first team meeting, the first hiring and the first sacking. Good businesses have good systems and great businesses have great systems.

As you work to develop great systems, be sure to document them. You can write them down, photograph them or even video them, whatever works best and most easily for you and your team. It needn’t be a chore. You can do it as you go and then you end up with two things; first a documented system you can improve over time and secondly ‘your way’ of doing things that you can train new people to.

It is difficult to polish something up if it only exists in the mind of one person. When it is documented it can easily be polished, honed and refined.

One of the things that we get frustrated about is that our team all seem to do the same tasks in different ways resulting in confusion and inconsistent performance. One of the reasons for that is training new recruits is either non-existent or haphazard. One of the reasons for that is that in too many cases we don’t have a comprehensive and up to date ‘how to’ manual. So create one and save time and avoid inconsistency.

The pinnacle of a systemised business has to be MacDonald’s restaurants. You can visit a MacDonald’s in Barcelona or Birmingham (UK or USA) and get the same quality of food and service. They are famous for running a world class business, staffed by teenagers that most of us can’t persuade to keep their rooms clean. Such is the power of strong systems and robust training to those systems.

Systems are a very effective form of leverage. They make the hard work not only easy but also consistent. Yes, they can be a challenge to perfect but once perfected they can be used for ever.

The early years of a business should be viewed as a time to develop and to perfect the systems that will run the business in the future. Remember systems run your business; your people run your systems and you lead your people. In the absence of robust and effective systems you will keep tripping yourself up. So invest the time and effort so you can reap the rewards and remember these words of W. Edwards Deming “if you can’t write down what you are doing as a process then you plainly don’t know what you’re doing”

Click here for details on the other 9 possible causes.