Declaration of 'In' Dependence
As Americans, we who love our country take great pride in our founding documents. Quoted regularly, the Declaration of Independence was written and signed — many would say, in blood — to inform other nations, especially the British Empire, that our country was declaring its independence from them or any who would seek to control us. We wanted to be free, and to make our own goals, boundaries and laws. It came at a great cost, with much commitment and resolve.
It’s human nature for children to want to declare their independence, even before they’re old enough, or have income enough, to make such a declaration, much less carry it out. Young people chomp at the bit for their "freedom" ... you know, come and go as they please, stay out as long as they want, empty the refrigerator with regularity, sleep-in as long as they want to, etc., etc., etc.
But the truth is, children are necessarily “dependent,” NOT “independent.” That’s where good parenting (leadership) matters! Even a mother bird knows when it’s time to let a fledgling fly safely, wisely on its own!
What does this have to do with systems?
I know countless business owners who declare they started or bought a business to gain their freedom, their “independence” from having to punch a clock or have a boss to set their schedule. They want to make their own rules, come and go as they please and set their own agenda. That’s exactly why I, too, wanted to be self-employed.
However, I soon discovered, I was NOT as free as I thought I would be. In fact, I seemed to have more bosses than when I was an employee. My NEW bosses were my customers! If I messed up they would fire me, and simply go down the street to my competitor. If I didn’t provide certain benefits or perks for my employees, they too would walk out the door.
Yes, I found myself “IN” dependence, to my customers and employees. I was working long hours trying to keep them all happy, dealing with errors, then staying late and working weekends to correct them, so my customers wouldn’t fire me.
Well, thank God an answer came. I read a great book on how to systemize my business, and in 1994, I declared MY Declaration of Independence!
I installed systems, i.e., Daily Routine checklists, for all employees. I designed and implemented quality and service control systems to stop the messes and errors in my business, and many other great systems to FREE myself from the controls of chaos. I could finally leave my business when I wanted to, without fear that things would fall apart.
I was finally, TRULY INDEPENDENT of the burden of day-to-day operations and what happens when controls are not in place. I could do the things that I always wanted to do, but could never find the time! It came with a cost and commitment, but, oh, the FREEDOM!
Did I mention? Great systems work!
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.