Systems

Systematizing a business process can be an interesting, if not challenging undertaking. It forces the participants to break down the process into steps. So doing brings to light aspects of the process which are vague or unnecessarily complicated and as a result, affords the participants an opportunity to streamline the process.

Once a process is systematized, it should be able to run ad infinitum, ceteris paribus. The trouble, of course, is that nothing lasts forever. The factors eventually change. And it is important to recognize when they do.

Systems which become misaligned with the evolving factors can continue to run for a time, usually because one or more individuals create workarounds which basically allow them to fit a round peg in a square hole. Such individuals are tremendously valuable in an organization, because they keep the process moving even though the factors have changed. They become a liability however, if the system is not updated as a result because they’re good intentions eventually have the unintended affect of hiding these critical discrepancies.

Systems are valuable to the degree that they standardize business processes and take into account the reality of the situation. When the system becomes out of synch with the process, a breakdown is imminent, unless the system is updated to accommodate the changes in a timely fashion.

8 thoughts on “Systems

  • It takes a number of talents to make this process work. The innovator that can figure out the best system, the undaunted associate that will keep it running as things change and the strategist that sees it can be improved. The one skill we all must hone is the ability to change. I think humility is one of the greatest assets for any associate. Great outline of a vital business acumen, thanks!

  • Systems do offer great starting points and guidelines. However, my experience has shown me that if we just depend on the system or fall into the trap of saying “we have always done it this way” than we can become outdated quickly. Things change and evolve constantly so we always need to be looking at our systems to see where we can continue to improve. Also, to make certain that our systems are the best available we need the feedback from those who are actually working within the system so that we get all points of view.

  • The value of a system is that it allows certain processes to work according to established parameters on a consistent basis without constant thought and monitoring from a conscious standpoint. The danger inherent any system is due to just this, however! Regular reviews and updates of systems must built into any good system, and if people become thoroughly subject to systems we have one or many problems!

    Often it seems that blind loyalty to systems can squeeze out the humanity in a business. We can forget the objective of the system in displays of petty bureaucracy or unconscious activity. On the other hand, organic systems can be so wonderfully valuable, removing stress and unnecessary error while allowing all involved to concentrate on something other than just mechanics.

  • This is so important for those in business as well as for any parent or politician to regard. As we face a constantly changing environment it is vital that we are alert to assess the systems in which we are working. I have found often that when I take the time to do this in my business and home life I find that there are often many areas that can be refined and reset to the good of all involved. Thanks for putting this in such a logical outline.

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