Why Your Business Systems Fail
"We've TRIED implementing systems, but people don't stick to them, so they fail!"
How many times have I heard THAT? Answer is: ALL THE TIME! Especially when giving a presentation on Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's) for a business.
"Philip, I've put systems in place, like Quality Control Checklists, but they work only for a short time, then people forget about them or simply stop using them." A common complaint!
During a recent Webinar demo I was hosting, an owner I'll call Bob told me that he had hired an expert to help systemize his company. The "expert" apparently had extensive experience writing SOP's, and had compiled a cumbersome binder of documents, which Bob thought only added more frustration to their work. Trying to keep up with so much documentation had proved impossible.
Bob told me he (himself) had won an award for a system he had written in File Maker, at some point, but even THAT system had failed to be sustainable. "Philip," Bob said with no little frustration, "I have tried everything to keep our systems running with not much success. I'm still bogged down in day-to-day operations, working long hours to keep our company operating."
The answer I gave Bob, and I give EVERYONE who is plagued with failing business systems, I now give to YOU:
YOU NEED ANOTHER SYSTEM!
That's right, ANOTHER system—a system of FOLLOW-UP—to insure all systems are continuing to operate in the manner for which they were designed.
It's strange, that every owner or manager knows when a system stops running, but they fail to ask, "WHY?" Why DO people stop using systems for, i.e. Quality Control, Preventative Maintenance, Request for Leave, and for Orientation, etc.?
Again, there is NO FOLLOW-UP SYSTEM!
ONE follow-up system many successful companies use to insure such systems continue to operate is, a Corrective Action System—I call that a "System Buster Eliminator."
Imagine for a moment, you have implemented a quality control system with detailed checklists for every process in your organization. Then you get a call from your salesperson, who just received a call from an angry customer about an error on their job.
Okay, you KNOW something went wrong with the quality control system, so you start looking for the root cause and discover one of your employees failed to do their quality control checklist. In most companies, the employee is just told to "REMEMBER to do your Quality Control Checklist NEXT TIME"—and that's the end of it.
However, if the same company was using a Corrective Action System, the error would have been completely documented and the employee who made the error would SIGN the Corrective Action Document...which recorded the fact that the employee failed to USE the system...which really means they failed to do their job.
After signing a few of these documents, employees KNOW the system is being followed up on by management and, in most cases, that I've witnessed over the past 20 years, employees will get with the program.
There are other follow-up systems mentioned in detail in my book "System Busters; How to Stop Them in Your Business" that you can implement to insure conformance, such as Daily Routine Checklists for key employees, with prompts to make random spot checks on KEY SYSTEMS.
NOTE: You don't need to follow up every control checklist to insure conformance; random spot checks will work just fine to keep NON-conformances in check—NO SYSTEM BUSTERS!
Remember, the key word in Follow-up System is: SYSTEM.
Did I mention? Great systems work!