Sticky Systems Create Sustainable Order

I’ve heard countless stories from frustrated business owners about how they have implemented procedures to run their business, only to see these systems ignored—if not completely discarded—by their employees. An Operations Manual, a once important Mission Statement, or even the original Vision for the business gets lost in the piles of paper and good intentions. Still, you long to see your business grow.

So, how do you make good systems STICK?

When I first set out on the mission to stop the chaos in our company by installing written systems, I had trouble sustaining them. It would have been easy to just throw in the towel. However, instead of giving up and letting my company and its mounting chaos return to business as usual, I took a fresh look at my original vision.

Our “business as usual” meant: everyone did things the WAY they wanted to, WHEN they wanted to, and sometimes IF they wanted to. Instituting standard operating procedures that we could all get on board with was crucial, if the business was going to survive and thrive! 

My research convinced me of a way to implement written processes people would use consistently—100 percent of the time. Systems that would STICK! And, once implemented, I wouldn’t have to be there to ensure processes were being used correctly. Now that’s “Sustainable Order!”

How do you ensure your people are using your well-planned systems?

You do it by implementing another system! Yes, another system; the missing ingredient that will make all other systems cohesive—a “sticky system” that we developed, tested and have come to rely on. It still works, after 15 years!

So, what is a Sticky System?

It begins with a network of interacting written procedures, policies, checklists, etc., to create an Operations Manual—the processes that run your company. This Operations Manual is made accessible to every member of your organization, to give clear understanding to all, and empowering them to do their jobs without constant supervision.

Now to keep your systems from coming unglued, here’s the sticky part…

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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  • jdohotto

    checklists? really? what happens when an event doesn’t fit so neatly into your checklist? What is in your "Sticky System" to sustain it and keeping it from falling in to disuse? It’s not a checklist The checklist will be the first thing people set aside. Ever heard of ISO9001:2008 ? Let’s not reinvent the wheel.