If you’re trying to get your business to break through to a whole new level of sales and productivity, then a critical component of that is setting up effective systems.
In order to create powerful systems that optimise your output, it is important to have a foundational knowledge of the three basic layers of systems. You can then ensure you are producing clear, simple systems that are genuinely effective.
Here are the three layers of systems:
Base layer: Rules and policies
What the company is committed to and is moving towards? What are its values? What are the regulations in your business? What is the culture you want to build? What is the mission you have for this particular system? What determines value in this system?
At The London Coaching Group we have a document called the “Rules of the Game” which we use to define our purpose, our goals, and our expectations of both ourselves and our clients.
This document explains the position of employees, any legal positions, any conditions or constraints, any contracts and any policies. This should form a foundation that your entire company works from.
Many solicitor firms have templates of this document that are ready for you to use, and will offer them for free as a way to encourage you to work with them on an ongoing basis.
Middle layer: Method
This is split into two sections; the process and the procedures.
A process is a set of logically related tasks. So you have an input and an outcome, and everything in between is a process. To set up processes, you need to create process charts.
A process sets out how your company is going to translate your rules and policies (from the first layer) into action.
A procedure is when you step inside a process and start providing detailed instructions on how that process is done at each step. The procedures ensure that the process remains consistent in its output.
For example, “Back-up Company Account File”. That is the step in the process of what needs to be done when it comes to the accounts in the business. The procedure will be a detailed explanation of how to back-up the company account file; “When the company file is done, you take it from the folder ‘Company Accounts’ and copy the file with today’s date on it and save it on a CD and label it with ‘Company Accounts <date>’.”
Top layer: Tools
These are all of the actual items you use to disseminate the systems within your business. This includes all the forms, checklists, guides, templates, standard documents and so on.
For example, in McDonalds’s it might be that employees need to ask, “Would you like fries with that,” with a smile. The document that explains this for the employees is the ‘tool’.
A good example of a tool is our 3-Step Referral System. The PDF document is the tool, which explains our method of how to gain referrals. It is set upon the foundation of rules and policies where we state that we are largely a referral-based business.
Tools will also include your how-to manuals and videos. You should have one of these for each and every position in your company.
Remember, however, that your tools are not 100% instruction manuals. Each person will put their own angle on delivering the final result. What is important is that your manuals – your tools – are covering the essential parts for the systemised routine parts of the job.
Once you understand that gaining leverage in your business requires these firm three layers, you can start to build effective systems for your operations. Your team will then be able to follow your systems with a clarity that will ensure much smoother automation within your business, reducing the need for your constant intervention.
By Shweta Jhajharia, Principal Coach and founder of The London Coaching Group