Truth is Greater Than Fiction
Before I begin, let me assure you, the point of this blog is not to off-handedly criticize the entertainment industry but to make what I think you'll agree is a valid point.
My wife Susan and I love going to the movies and reading books about real life people and events. Many times when seeing a film, I like to play a game with Susan. After only a few scenes, I predict how the whole story will play out. The outcome seems obvious to me, and my wife seems impressed (annoyed?) that my rate of accuracy is pretty high, even if it is sort of a spoiler.
But, filmmakers seem to have a limited supply of unique stories in their repertoire, so the same events—formulas—are refried, over and over. It’s not rocket science to guess which way a film is headed these days, but I’m ecstatic when it’s a surprise!
Even worse, are stage plays—where theater groups tend to rehash the same productions (i.e. Les Miserables, Man of LaMancha, My Fair Lady, A Christmas Carol, Sound of Music, etc.), when I would prefer to see something NEW! How many times do I need to hear, “the Hills are alive…”? Don't get me wrong, I like some of these stories; but I can get really bored at these plays and movie remakes, knowing EXACTLY what will happen next. It's okay, if you like that—my wife can watch the same movie or play multiple times, while I’m able to take a power nap.
As you know, in REAL life, real things happen, and that makes them TRUE. I LIKE that! If movies and plays are mostly “predictable,” in real life you can't be sure what will happen in the very next minute, as it often takes a sudden turn without warning—one NO ONE could have predicted.
Unpredictable events can make for a great movie—BUT, THEY CAN BE DISASTROUS FOR A BUSINESS!
What does this have to do with systemic success? Maybe nothing, maybe EVERYTHING!
It all depends on whether you embrace FICTION or TRUTH.
Truths about businesses:
- Mistakes will occur, costing time and money
- Employees will get frustrated and walk out the door
- Miscommunications will happen among staff, customers and vendors
- Sales will go up, and sales will go down
- Equipment will break down and become obsolete at some point
- Material and other costs will rise
- Owners, managers and employees will at times work very long and stressful hours
- Customers will complain and will stop doing business with your company
- A competitor somewhere will be cheaper and promise more
- Sickness will spread like wildfire among staff just when business is booming
- Storms will knock out phones or utilities, sooner or later
- Etc., etc., etc. (got that from The King and I movie)
Fiction or myths about businesses:
- People are human and can't help making mistakes
- Our type of production is too messy to keep work areas clean and clutter free
- Salespeople can't be held accountable for what they do outside the office
- Employees will quit if required to follow strict procedures
- People who make the least mistakes are the most technical and talented
- Quality control systems are for big companies only
- We don't have time to write and implement an operations manual
- She's a great manager although her desk looks like an overturned trash bin
- You need a manager constantly overseeing people in order to keep them on task
- You don't need good systems, you just need good people
- Continual improvement is only for big car manufacturers
- Etc., etc., etc.
If you believe the above list of FICTION, and allow it to define your business, then in this case "FICTION IS GREATER THAN TRUTH" and nothing will change—that's just the way it is—end of statement, period. I won't argue with that logic, as I've found it pointless. I've seen that movie before, too. And it doesn't end well!
However, if you believe "TRUTH IS GREATER THAN FICTION," then you can act on that truth and redefine your business for a better outcome.
For example, if an unwanted event occurs in the real world of your business, you can prevent it from happening in most cases, due to the fact that all events, whether wanted or unwanted, have a root cause—the TRUTH as to why they occur.
If an unwanted event turns out to be predictable, then it is PREVENTABLE—and you can STOP it!
Just like a Hollywood movie you've seen before, you know what scene is coming next. An unwanted event that occurs in your business will tend to REPEAT, unless you get involved as the director and discontinue the bad performance. By implementing a system of control in your business, you can ensure a “bad movie” doesn't replay!
On the entire list of TRUTHS IN BUSINESSES above, in our business we have put in systems to either stop predictable/preventable events, or to minimize their effect on our operations—that's the TRUTH!
Hope you won't let the fictional ideas and myths others promote in the business world get in the way of the truthful things you CAN, maybe DO know, as you see events good and bad play out every day in your business.
Unfortunately, those who want to believe FICTION is real, will never deal with the TRUTH, which CAN be tested.
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.