Never Judge a System by Its Abuse!

“Never judge a system by its ABUSE!” That last word, particularly, rang in my ears as the talk radio host spoke about some recent, unreasoning criticisms and outright attacks on long-standing and workable systems that have proved themselves to have great merit throughout history—for example: the genius of our Constitution and Bill of Rights; the uniqueness of the radio host’s subject, Christendom; and, yes, great business systems that built and sustained a thriving American economy for so long.

But, even darned-near-perfect systems are often flawed by imperfect human beings who assume to tweak—amend, change, distort—or dismiss them arbitrarily, having confused the original intent.

In other words, some of us are REALLY good at throwing the Baby out with the bathwater!

In my years as a business owner and systems analyst, I’ve heard the most unfounded criticisms of even the most workable business systems—”Philip, we’ve tried putting in a (this or that) system…it’s too much trouble…too demanding…too much like ‘Big Brother’…hard to get our employees to use it consistently!”

Truth is, in cases like that, it’s NOT the system that doesn’t work; it’s the lack of knowledge and leadership, the ABUSE of the system, that’s the root cause of failure.

Take, for instance, a Quality Control System. Who is it that runs a business, but doesn’t care about quality products and good service? Sometimes it’s the very ones who think they can just fly by the seat of their pants, and somehow it will magically all come out right in the end—the very ones who wring their hands over lost revenue due to reruns and general mismanagement.

I’ve been watching and improving our Quality Control Systems for over 15 years, and IT HAS SAVED OUR BUSINESS TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS. Have I seen abuses in our company? You bet I have! Have I sometimes failed in my leadership and fallen short of our set goals. Absolutely!

Philip Beyer, founder/president of Beyer Printing and Ebiz Products LLC in Nashville, TN, is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant, author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business," and an InterTech Award recipient for the design and development of System100™ business process management software. Philip speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses.
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  • Melissa Sienicki

    I think it’s important to recognize that we DO all fail our systems at one point or another. We can’t get caught up in that fact, but focus on fixing the issue and doing better in the future.