Fundamentals of the Game
It’s Sunday and I have wracked my brain to think of a wise and wondrous thing to share on my blog this week. It was one of those weeks that was extremely gratifying for me, yet at the same time has given me a heavy heart. Not meaning to be dramatic, but I have some deep concerns for my nation.
Why do I say MY nation? As a citizen, but also as a business owner and employer, I believe OUR nation’s business is also MY responsibility. I’ve received countless blessings from its fruit. I feel it’s also my duty to do what I can to come to the aid of our nation in times of trouble, and not look to others to DO so, and then sit back and complain about their DOING. In this critical election year, I am personally making it a point to know the background and core beliefs of those who seek to lead our nation now and who may affect its course for all of us.
I suspect you’re wondering, “Philip, what does this have to do with the price of beans in Texas, much less systems?”
Let me start by telling you why my week was so gratifying...
We are beginning to market a new product and have just informed our existing customers that they will be updated with this enhanced version of our software—which has been a dream/vision of mine for years. This new component is a unique building block that allows business owners to edit and create interactive documents online from anywhere in the world (with Internet access).
No, this is NOT a commercial—but this product has been a large part of MY life and others’ lives for the past year.
Now, about those beans in Texas: Without systemization in our companies, I would not have had the time to spend on such a massive project. I’m sure you know, with any such undertaking you need to assess the cost to see if you will be able to finish it. Then you can double that number, because that’s probably a better estimate of the real time and money it will take. HAVING the time was critical for me!
Each week I write to champion—and cajole others to consider—the BUSINESS FUNDAMENTALS and encourage mangers to think about writing those fundamentals down so others in the company know them and have access to them when needed. As a business systems analyst, my business is helping to create and improve business fundamentals.
What are the fundamentals of a business?
To begin with:
- Who opens your business each morning, turns on the lights, sets heat and air temperatures, etc.?
- Who answers the phone and what’s the policy for how a phone is answered?Does that person treat the caller like the most important person of your company’s day, or like an inconvenience? Do they have instant access to necessary information to help a caller?
- Etc. Etc. Etc.
These FUNDAMENTALS are the way a business runs/operates from the time it opens in the morning until the time it closes at night. It’s amazing how many companies do NOT take the time to consider these all-important details. Fundamentals can easily be learned and put into practice, but they often need to be revisited, and employees retrained on them.
If you have ever played or know anything about team sports, you know no matter how great the player, regardless of at what level of competition they participate, they can NEVER take their eye off the ball. To stay competitive, even superstars can’t get away from the FUNDAMENTALS of the game, without backing up, losing ground or going into a slump.
Coaches must often remind players of the fundamentals—as team leaders, they must teach, preach, coerce, plead, encourage, and (when necessary) REBUKE the team that if THEY—if WE—continue getting AWAY from the fundamentals. There will be consequences.
It’s the same for a business!
OK, now for my concern for the nation...
Our great country was built on great fundamentals. History tells us they were planned, debated, edited, fought over, considered, reconsidered, written down, voted on, and rewritten until an ingenious blueprint for its operation was born—our founding documents: The Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.
In fact, that collective “operations manual” was so fundamentally sound that it gave birth to the most prosperous nation in the history of the world. Not bad for a group of men with no royal titles, but who counted the cost and were willing to pay the ultimate price to uphold it!
Fact is, many of them lost everything—some, even their lives—in the bringing forward that Manual that has served as a guide to sustain the business we call The United States of America.
Was the USA Operations Manual perfect?
It wasn’t then and it isn’t now—that’s why a great system called the Amendment process was built into it. What we might call a continual-improvement process.
Why am I concerned as a citizen and a tax payer—one who supports this nation that was built on such a powerful, fundamentally sound system, with written documents that can be read by anyone?
Today, some of our citizens seem to have bought into the hype that those old documents and the men who suffered to write them are no longer relevant. Those same people who enjoy the freedom to complain, unlike what’s allowed in many countries in the world, have turned their backs on the rock-solid principles of nation-building those documents invoke.
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.