Why You Should Trash Your Existing Systems
It's easy to blame the systems for your company's problems. But maybe you need to look at how the people fit into those processes.
I am an efficiency guy. I love to build systems and put processes and procedures in place to do the work that needs to get done.
Every once in a while, though, I'm reminded of how important people are to that equation.
I was hired recently by a company to advise them on a problem they were having with one of their systems. Some of their sales representatives were entering call tickets into a tracking system incorrectly and the owner thought it was a system issue.
After spending a few days on site with their employees, I realized it had nothing to do with the system. If you followed the system, it was actually physically impossible to enter the transaction incorrectly. The problem had everything to do with how he was on-boarding and training his new employees.
Here are some tips I have seen work for adding people to your processes and making both sides of the equation more successful:
Put Like Groups Together
When you're building a company, it's hard to organize everyone into "like" groups. You should try, because the benefits are powerful. Employees learn from each other when situated closely to one another. Overhearing others handle problems around them, even if they are not directly involved, is a great way to learn the ropes.
Pair New Hires with a Mentor
Make mentorship a part of your senior staff's job description. Often, even senior staffers won't do something like this unless they're specifically asked to. So roll out a formal mentoring program that encourages regular check-ins and a level of accountability between senior staff and those new to your organization. This is a great way for new employees to get to know the senior staff in a meaningful and non-threatening way.
Give People Some "Blah" Space
In a world of highly-scheduled days and back-to-back meetings, when your teams work on projects together, it can be difficult for them to pick up where they left off last time. Make sure you include some space or place for teams to leave projects while they are in process. It's much easier for the team to walk-in to an immersive environment and pick up where they left off than to start over cold.
It's also a great way to show any visitors to your company work in progress and give them an idea of how your company arrives at the final product.
Don't just do things the way they've always been done, and don't rely on systems without human input. Take some time to consider the people who will be doing the work and build components that help to assure their success.