It’s hard to overestimate the role of people in business systems. Undeniably, tools and processes are core components (we spoke about that in part 1 and 2 of our mini-series), but without the humans involved in your business, they mean nothing.
WITHOUT PEOPLE, OUR BUSINESS IS NOTHING.
Think about it.
Our clients, our team, our leadership team,… us. Together we make our business.
Never mind the tools and processes we’ve been talking about (our current mini-series, remember!?). Important as they are, without the humans, they mean nothing… !
In the context of our systems mini-series, these people provide the magic:
- The clients. Make sure they are happy and your business thrives. All we want to hear from your clients is ‘ That was so easy, that was so smooth! Thank you so much!’.
- Our team, whether that is employees or contractors. Our team are the ones who make it all happen. They are the users of the systems. They carry out the processes on a day-to-day basis. As a result, they are also the ones best placed to tell you which processes work or don’t and how we can do it better.
- And then there is the leadership team. Be that a process manager, you or both. We are the brains. The ones creating, implementing and communicating the tools and the processes.
YOU GET THE POINT, …PEOPLE ARE CRUCIAL FOR BUSINESS SUCCESS. INDESPENSIBLE.
Together with the tools and the procedures, they are how you win the systems game. Pull one of these three and the whole business limps, or worse… collapses.
The tools and procedures we covered in the previous two episodes.
So let’s have a chat about the role of people in business systems, and how you can get it right….
How I Found Out Process Management In A Small Business Is Not A Luxury
Let’s start with a story. MY story…
Not that long ago, in my business, we had some great tools. We had processes too. BUT how they were documented and implemented was very ad hoc.
I would train people on how they should do something.
Sure enough, they would take it onboard, and then…they would slightly adjust the processes. You know, skip a step here and there, so they could do more work in less time. More efficient, or so they thought. And then …they would train another person and they also would tweak the process just a tiny bit for what they thought was best. Consistency… GONE!
Of course,… after a while- surprise, surprise- I found the task wasn't getting done to my expected standard.
As a result, I was reviewing everything before we sent it to the client. I’m a busy person, so I became the bottleneck.
It wasn’t good. I knew that!
The smart thing to do would have been to document the processes. But that was time I didn’t have. I'm sure you can relate.
So what was my solution?
I hired a dedicated person to manage and optimise our systems. A process manager. Low and behold… everything changed for the better!
THE MESSAGE: When you have a team, even a small team of 2-3 people, having a dedicated process manager in your business is a very smart idea. As little as 5-10 hours would do the trick.
But don’t just take my word for it!
The Benefits Of Having A Process Manager
Appointing a process manager who has expertise in systems management and optimisation means you bring in the knowledge and skills to design, implement, and maintain systems effectively.
YOU… no longer need to worry about:
- Consistency and continuity. From now on, you can expect systems to run smoothly and any issues are resolved quickly.
- Process improvement; being proactive about what lays ahead in the future.
- Communicating and coordinating between different teams or team members, while ensuring the systems meet everyone’s needs, including your clients.
- Failing to comply with industry regulations and standards. (Not silly… NO, NO!) This can be as simple as ensuring you receive a valid tax invoice for expenditure so you remain compliant with Inland Revenue.
- Costly mistakes and downtime. No need to explain this one. But it means that contrary to what you may assume, having a process manager can be cost-effective in the long run.
As you got from my above story, I'm speaking from personal experience. The (important) side note is that you have to be aware you‘re playing the long game.
But getting a process manager in your business is only one part of the role of people in business systems.
The team is equally important!
Business Process Compliance: Processes Aren’t Optional
To explain what I mean by that, I have another story (I know, it’s stories galore in this episode! .
At the time of recording this episode, I was listening to someone else’s podcast. The guest, I won’t mention who it was, said that her team uses Click Up. She’s firm on business process compliance from her team. BUT… SHE HERSELF DOESN'T LIKE USING CLICK UP. Worse…she doesn’t want the team to tag her in a task. Instead, she demands her team to send her emails to remind her she has to do something.
Now what’s wrong with this picture?
PERSONALLY, I THINK THIS IS CRAZY!
Not only is it out of integrity, it’s also out of alignment.
I mean, how can she work efficiently… ever? And what message is she giving her team? That processes are only important if you feel like it?
Processes only work if everybody is on board. Business process compliance can’t be optional. And what that says is that compliance of the business process has to be part of the business culture.
How To Nail The Role Of People In Business Systems
Let’s just say you need to get some basics right:
- Start with the who-does-what. Define roles and responsibilities. It creates clear reporting lines and lets people know whose shoulder to tap to get things done.
- Communicate roles and responsibilities. Don’t allow the accountability chart to be a piece of paper in a forgotten drawer. Every team member needs to clearly understand their role and responsibilities within the team.
- Put the right people in the right seat. Look for individuals with the right skills and experience to fill the roles in your accountability chart. Right people, right seat makes a tremendous difference.
- Invest in training and development. This ensures your team members have the skills and knowledge necessary to manage processes in business and use the tools. This could be external training or internal training.
- Create a positive work environment. When done well, processes don’t restrict teamwork and creativity. They create boundaries and a roadmap, but when you foster continuous personal, system, and process improvement, as well as transparency and accountability, it’s not a straightjacket in the slightest.
- Foster collaboration and problem-solving. Encourage open communication among team members. With the right attitude, procedures and tools, even a remote team like mine can do this.
- Involve the team. Encourage your team members to come up with new ways to improve your business systems. If they are the users of tools and procedures, they also should also have a say.
- Set clear and measurable goals. Track the team’s performance to ensure that they are meeting expectations. This includes business process compliance.
- Regularly review and update your systems. Technology evolves, your business demands change. A regular check-in ensures your tools and processes are keeping up with the times.
- Be a role model for your team. What stronger way to show the importance of systems management and optimisation, than being diligent yourself. Think of it this way: If you can't do this, why would you expect your team to do it?
Bringing it all together
- In Part 1 (Ep 78) I highlighted the different tools that can be used to manage and optimise systems. I offered tips for selecting the right tools for your business.
- In Part 2 (Ep 79) We explored the importance of having a clear and efficient process in place, and discussed how to design and implement a process that works for your business. I provided tips on where and how to store your standard operating procedures.
- And in Part 3 (this episode 80) I highlighted the role of people in business systems: the importance of having a team that is committed to continuous improvement of your systems and the focus a dedicated process manager can bring for managing and optimising your systems.
Getting your systems right in your business goes beyond picking the right tools and introducing the appropriate procedures. It’s hard to overestimate the role of people in business systems. If the people involved with the systems drop the ball, you are at risk of compromising success and effectiveness of everything you did right.
TOOLS, PROCEDURES, PEOPLE: IT’S AND, NOT OR IF YOU WANT TO NAIL THE SYSTEMS IN YOUR BUSINESS TO GET YOU AHEAD!
Your role, as a leader, is to provide effective leadership and communication, as well as being the role model. As for the team, dedication, skills, and motivation are non-negotiables to achieve scalable growth for your business. (More on scalable growth here and here)
And that, folks, is all I have to say about the crucial role of people in business systems for now!
If you’ve paid attention during the last 3 weeks, You’ll now realise that having systems in place that are well-designed, well-implemented, and well-maintained is crucial for the success, effectiveness and ultimately the scalable growth of your business.
THAT’S NO MINOR FEAT!
It makes it all the more important to fine-tune the major contributors to getting your systems right stand out: the tools, the processes, and the people.
If you want help with this in your business, I highly recommend booking in for my Business Strategy Sessions. These are 1:1 strategy sessions with a focus on Scalable Growth. (These are one-off bookable sessions.)
Not a natural tech person? I can also help you with the set-up of your Monday.com board to suit the specific needs of your business during one of my VIP days.