Fundamentally, every organization is a system: a collection of processes that, together, reliably produces an intended result. Systems allow you to spend time focusing on actions that will ensure you can fulfill all the tasks required to achieve the organizations objectives.
Systems are comprised of processes. As W. Edwards Deming, considered by many to be the father of the quality management movement, said: “If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.” That’s a pretty blunt statement, but quite true when you think about it.
Processes include written policies and procedures that have been established for the purpose of ensuring the desired outcome from a given business operation. This documentation forms the foundation of an effective process, which in turn supports the overall management system.
Properly designed, systems keep everyone on the same page, help avoid bottlenecks, and produce consistent, reliable results. But most importantly, they free up time for management to identify and exploit opportunities for growth.
Here are several underlying causes that can contribute to weak systems that undermine organizational performance:
· No written policies and/or procedures.
· Policies and/or procedures are not strict enough.
· Policies and/or procedures are confusing or contradictory.
· Policies and/or procedures are incorrect.
· Lack of awareness (training) of polices and/or procedures.
· Lack of enforcement of policies and/or procedures.
The good news is that each of these is within our control. The more you invest time on improving your organizations system, the better results you’ll produce. Consequently, it’s a great return on investment.