How many times have you heard that you need to create systems for your business?
Great, now you have one more thing added to you your plate.
Just what you needed.
I know I’ve heard it a million times.
I need to create systems.
Otherwise, I’ll be on a perpetual hamster wheel.
When I first started my business, I was continually reinventing the wheel.
Every new customer I got wanted things done their way.
In the beginning, I complied with their requests.
This led to a brand-new way of doing things with every new customer.
At some point, I recognized that I was working myself to the bone and creating more work than was necessary.
That’s when I decided to hire someone to help me with my work.
I gave my new employee instructions, and that’s when the true chaos ensued.
I gave my new employee clear instructions on how to do the work and let them go to make my life easier.
As I finished my instructions, visions of bliss entered my mind as the heavy burden of being overworked was finally going to be offloaded to someone else.
Oh, how mistaken I was.
My blood began to boil as I found myself repeating my instructions repeatedly to my employee.
What’s wrong with this employee?
How could their skull be so thick?
Were they not listening to me?
Why weren’t they getting this?
How many times am I going to have to repeat myself?
I found myself growling and grumbling every time I traveled to the bathroom.
“Damon,” my employee beckoned to me, “I’ve got a quick question for you.”
Every single time.
I began to reduce my liquid intake.
In some small way, dying of thirst was preferable to the dreaded quick question.
Maybe that would be the key to me finally getting my work done.
I’m traveling to the bathroom for a reason.
My quick sojourn down the hall was meant to relieve myself not to be stopped to answer questions.
I mean I really have to go bad. Nature is calling.
The dreaded quick question.
Whenever I hear or read those two words, I brace myself.
There is no such thing as a quick question. Ever.
Quick questions don’t exist.
There is never a quick question.
I took some time to step back to analyze the way work was being done.
With some reflection, I recognized that the reason why I was getting the blasted quick question
It was because knowledge on how to do the work wasn’t being transferred completely from me to my employees.
My method of transferring knowledge was bugging the snot out of me and leaving my employees frustrated because they didn’t know how to do the work.
It didn’t matter that I spent untold hours explaining how to do the work.
The complete transfer of knowledge only works when my employees are able to do the work without my supervision.
It takes time for the transfer of knowledge to occur.
In my experience, I’ve not been patient enough for my employees to gain mastery over the work to be performed.
I then looked at myself and realized I was not impatient with myself when I was learning how to do new work.
I always give myself as much time as it takes to complete the work.
I then remember the golden rule that says to do unto others as I would have done to me.
I had to be willing to give grace to my employees, so they had the opportunity to gain mastery of the work I assigned to them.
I recognized that until my employees gained mastery, I would have a revolving door of work.
The work would be shifted from my plate momentarily, but then more work would come my way as I needed to field questions and mentor my employees through mastery.
I needed to take a different approach to working with my team members.
I needed to create a safe space for them to learn how to do the work I assigned them.
I also needed to become a mentor that coached them through the process of learning how to fish.
What I recognized is I only needed two tools to remove work from my plate.
Here are the two tools I’ve used to remove work from my plate and grow my employees into valuable members of my team.
I’ve been using these two tools exclusively for years, and it has worked wonders for me.
With these two tools, I’ve been able to incrementally reduce my workload and still maintain a consistent quality that meets my standards.
The best part about these tools is they are simple for me to create and easy for my employees to use.
Videos are the best ways to capture the process of how to perform work.
In this day and age, everyone has a camera on their smartphone.
When it’s time to transition work to someone else, all I need to do is pull out my smartphone and start recording myself doing the work.
While I’m performing the work, I can talk about the work and explain the nuances of the work and why I’m doing the work a certain way.
I can also issue important points or warnings about the way the work should be performed.
If my work is primarily computer-based, then I use screen capture software to record myself doing the work.
I always make sure I have a microphone connected to the video.
Many times, the audio quality is more important than the video quality.
With videos, I’m able to explain how to do the work once.
I only have the patience to explain how to do things one time.
My employees get the benefit of going back to video anytime they are unsure how to do the work.
Both my employees and I get what we need to perform work to the correct quality.
I’ve been using checklists for as long as I can remember.
I remember in my first job out of college; I would perform work and then send it off to my supervisor.
She would get frustrated with me because something was left undone, or I didn’t double-check my work.
If I had taken the time to double-check my work, I would have easily seen things that were incorrect or missing.
To prevent the continual errors, I was making; I started to create checklists for myself.
With checklists, I was able to document the steps that were necessary to perform to complete a task properly.
An added benefit of using checklists is it forced me to standardize the way I performed work.
The standardized method of work had two primary benefits.
- More consistent quality
- Time shavings
By doing my work the same way each time, I got better at my work, and it took me less time to do the work.
Checklists are simple to create.
As I’m doing work, I open a new excel document and start writing the task I perform to complete the work.
When I’m done performing the work, I now have a checklist I can use the next time I do the work.
Creating systems is a crucial skill that will help you build a better business.
You only need two tools to create systems for your business.
Recognize you aren’t actually creating systems.
Instead, you’re documenting the systems you already have created through your vast experience of performing work.
By creating and using videos and checklists, you will dramatically improve the work you improve, and you will reduce the time it takes you to do that work.
Now take some of that saved time and take a quick vacation from your business.