I’m going to write on a subject that I don’t often touch here at Lifeannotations.com; Work. I feel that my blog is an outlet away from the grind. I really enjoy the blogging process of crafting my words, choosing the right picture and editing those photos to compliment the words. It’s where I can step outside of the guard rails and the limits are only those that are self-imposed.
But the other side of my personality is one that strives to put systems in place. Michael Gerber says in he’s book E-myth, that employees run systems not the business – you have to work on the business and not in the business. This is why when you go into a McDonald’s anywhere in the world to order a Quarter-Pounder you will get the same result. When you put systems in place around you the output can become predictable. Knowing that my own teenager believes that ketchup makes everything taste better – I don’t think I would return to any restaurant that left the decision up to the teenager of how much ketchup to put on the burgers. I want my hamburger experience to be predictable. What’s really mind-blowing is that by having systems in place, McDonald’s a multi-billion dollar company, is able to run their systems with teenagers.
My job at the company where I work is efficiency improvement. What’s more, I work in the construction industry which isn’t exactly known for being a well oiled production machine. The other day I was in a planning meeting with a project team. We use a system of post-it notes to plan out our upcoming work. With most systems everything has a purpose or meaning to it. One of the team members had noticed that someone had used a different colored post-it then the norm. It bothered him to the point that he re-wrote the post-it on the correct color, got up, and replace the original note. That was a real learning moment.
That’s the power of systems. When something is out-of-place, it becomes very apparent. Once you have identified the “out-of-place” you know where to focus your problem solving efforts. You can put systems in place anywhere, not just work. From how you organize your garage, to managing your bills, to mowing your lawn – systems can help you manage your life so you can enjoy those areas of your life that don’t need to be managed (like blogging!).