Focus on the System, Not the Product
In 1984, Sam founded Centratel, the number one commercial telephone answering service in the nation, located in Bend, Ore. With a background in engineering and publishing, he is a telephone answering service industry consultant, writer and speaker, and has served as president of several regional and national answering service organizations.
Sam is author of the book Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less, published by North Sister Publishing, Inc. in April 2008. He also founded and directs Kashmir Family Aid, a 501C3 non-profit that aids surviving school children of the Northern Pakistan and Azad Kashmir earthquake of October 8, 2005.
Originally from upstate New York, and an Oregonian since 1975, he is married to Linda Carpenter. He has a daughter and two grandchildren. He and Linda are also in the process of launching an Internet business that promotes communication between absent adults and their children and grand children. Outside interests include climbing/mountaineering, skiing, cycling, reading, traveling and writing.
It seems logical the manager’s total efforts should be focused on the product or service itself; that all energy be directed to the work that must be done, the customers who must be found, and the money that must be made.
And this is the problem! Focus entirely on these tasks without an overall strategy of system-improvement, and dysfunction is imminent. Failure to adopt an outside-and-slightly-elevated perspective is the primary reason only one business out of 100 will survive 15 years.
Here’s good news: The bulk of those one percent survivors are doing very well indeed. Albeit morbid, here’s more good news for you: The vast majority of your new competitors are doomed.
Understand what large successful businesses have in common: The leader is not producing the product or service. He or she is holding court, observing and adjusting the systems that produce and sell the product or service. To accomplish this, the leader insists management documents goals, methodology, and procedures—and ensures employees follow this documentation exactly.
By doing things this way—by providing extraordinary systems and then inspiring everyone to abide by those systems—leadership can employ real people, people who don’t have super powers.
The CEO’s job is not only to create foundational systems that are forthright and sensible, but also to hire managers who see the vision and understand it is their responsibility to oversee sub-systems in the same logical and well-explained way. If you wish to operate a successful business that will have intrinsic value, should your role be any different?
Large successful businesses don’t have documented systems because they are large; they are large because they have documented systems! This is an absolute key point, one that is obvious once the systems-thinking epiphany strikes home.
Learn how to “work the systems” in your own business or department, turn hard work into smart work, and break free of long workweeks and meager pay by registering for a free teleseminar Thursday, August 28, on “Potent Strategies to Auto-Pilot Your Business or Department.” Click here to learn more and register for the free call: www.workthesystem.com/signup