Sunday, June 17, 2007

Week 38 - Never Stop Looking for Improvements

Someone once said that a journey of a thousand miles beings with one small step. So it is with your policies and procedures that make up your business system. Start today, constantly refine the system when a problem occurs. You just need to ask yourself what other steps could be implemented to avoid the error in the future. These small incremental improvements will add up and one day you will realize that your business now runs without any yelling and screaming and that you do not actually have to be there! You simply must be committed to improving your processes incrementally, all of the time.

The word “system” might sound a little “constraining” to some of the more creative businesses out there. “Our people are individuals, we want their spirit and personality to shine through and thrill the customer with outstanding service”. No problem. Systems are not about leveling out each employee’s personality or creating an army of programmed robots. They are simply about producing a consistent result time after time. Your employee’s personalities can sit on top of the policies and procedures as a “presentation” layer. You can see this in action in well run businesses - some employees are friendlier than others, some might get into a conversation with you regarding the weather or the house you are painting BUT they all follow the same procedure of greeting you with certain words and up selling you.

In fact, effective systems backed up by the tools to get the job done actually free up your employees to spend time on the solution for the customer. In other words, get the hurdles out of the way, streamline your system and make it easier every day to process a customer transaction. That way you will find not only is your business running smoothly but your employees are happier and the customers are being treated consistently and with enthusiasm and genuine interest. Mike Basch, a founder of the global delivery and logistics company FedEx once said:

“Systematize the routine, humanize the exception."

Next week, can behavior be systematized? Paddy Lund Dentistry holds the answer!

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