Ten steps to workplace success
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.
Your employees are not mind readers or fortune tellers, and your business is not a free-form venue for experimentation, or a place where individual preference based on mood, time of the day, or random circumstance can rule the day. Your purpose and methodology must be clear, concise, consistent, and understood by everyone involved. Aim for a workplace that is orderly and efficient.
Your people are at work for a reason: to earn a wage, first, and second, for the satisfaction of it. The smoother you can make things “on the ground,” the more money will be made by everyone, and the more satisfaction and success will be achieved. Here are ten steps to stopping the chaos and creating efficiency.
- For the moment, renounce holism. Isolate your attention to the workings of the linear systems of your job or business. See these systems as singular entities, and understand that only by taking things apart can they be improved. Your new role is that of a system improvement manager.
- Accept the premise that documentation makes things permanent. It will be your job to convince your co-workers that documentation is a smart thing to do – and a requirement of the job.
- Know that 99.9 percent of everything works just fine (for proof, just look around at the raw details of your life, and note how much works flawlessly). With this in mind, understand that if some things are not working so well right now, there probably isn’t that much to repair to make thing better.
- One by one, analyze each system within your scope of influence – on paper. Start with the most pressing problem – the system causing the most real-time trouble. Use a 1-2-3-step format to describe – on paper – how your systems execute.
- In “working your systems,” assertively seek advice from the people who manage you, and from those you manage. Hand them your written documented system processes and ask for suggestions for improving them
- Use your peoples’ suggestions to tweak your systems to perfection. Document that perfection.
- Distribute your documented systems. Get everyone to agree to apply them as they are written. Assure all involved that if there is inefficiency in any of the processes, you will consider their advice, and if their advice is good, you will instantly make modifications in the system procedure. The goal is, bit-by-bit, to improve the details until the protocols are perfect.
- Keep your collection of documented systems at hand, readily accessible to everyone.
- Get everyone on board. If there are hold-outs to your new documentation and procedural efforts, there is a simple choice: They must embrace the new strategy or leave.
- Encourage your people to see everything within the workplace as either part of a system, or the outcome of a system.
The end result of your new approach? An efficient, “holistic” place of work where all the parts are working smoothly, the primary goal of profitability is being met, and the people who make all that happen are satisfied with their positions.
See www.workthesystem.com for a free, “six steps to working less and making more,” download.