In the 1993 Aerosmith hit, Amazing, Steven Tyler screams, “Life’s a journey, not a destination…”. I’m by no means the world’s biggest Aerosmith fan, but these lyrics ring true not only in our lives, but our careers and even our individual projects. Every project deserves a process and every process deserves a system. Do you use systems in your life or business?
I’ve implemented systems and passed them on to team members to carry out the actions described. Sometimes, they’re performed flawlessly. Other times, the system is skirted, fudged a bit, or ignored altogether. You can imagine the time wasted and trouble encountered when systems are averted.
When I devise a system, it’s not a power trip, or a chance to look down my nose at an employee or associate–heck, I love it when people I work with are proactive in crafting their own systems. I’m simply providing a map to get from Point A, to Point B…or Point K, for that matter. There may be detours along the way. I’m never offended if an assistant suggests that there may be delays because of traffic if we don’t take the more scenic route–figuratively speaking, or that we may run into troublesome weather if we try to get to one point today, rather than tomorrow.
Systems are not always set in stone. They may require some sculpting, or a bit of care in ensuring their ultimate efficiency, but they should be followed as closely as possible, to the point where an amendment is made in black and white and adopted to then be followed by all team members.
Here’s the point: When you have a map, you can follow the bread crumbs from your journey back, to see where things could have been done differently. If Team Member A is using her map and Team Member B is using his map, and one or both of them ends up at the Quik-E-Mart asking for directions, how do you know where they made a wrong turn? Unless you’re just out on a carefree Sunday drive, get yourself a good, up-to-date, map – or go one step further and invest in GPS.