What Experts Say About Business Systems and Processes
"In order for any business to succeed, it must first become a system so that the business functions exactly the same way every time down to the last detail" (Rick Harshaw, CEO, y2marketing).
"Organize around business functions, not people. Build systems within each business function. Let systems run the business and people run the systems. People come and go but the systems remain constant" (Michael Gerber, E-Myth Revisited).
"I always look to the system for a solution. If a challenge arises I use a system correction before I look for a people correction. I use a system solution in my innovation rather than a people solution. I follow the system exactly until a new system is introduced. I suggest system improvements at my first opportunity" (Brad Sugars, Action COACH's 14 points of Culture).
"An organization's purpose and goals set the direction. Measures focus the energy on the outcomes. Processes create habits, and habits drive the culture. You can teach skills and concepts. You can even create momentum (and a few smiles) through inspiration. But investing in skills and inspiration is a waste of money if there are not processes to reinforce your purpose and principles. The creation and continuous refinement of work processes is a mandatory practice in the Results Rule! organization, regardless of the industry" (Randy Pentington, Results Rule!).
"The two most important lessons that today's quality practitioners can learn from W. Edwards Deming and the total quality management movement of the 1980s are that quality equals process, and that everything is a process. Managing an organization's processes is crucial to ensuring its quality systems" (Ronald M. Cordes, Flowcharting: An Essential Tool).
"For a business to survive and thrive, 100 percent of all the systems must be functioning and accountable. For example: An airplane is a system of systems. If an airplane takes off and the fuel system fails, there often is a crash. The same things happen in business. It's not the systems that you know about that are the problem - it's the systems you are not aware of that cause you to crash" (Robert Kiyosaki, The Cashflow Quadrant).
Most companies leave far too much of the sales process up to the individual sales people. Yet to create the Ultimate Sales Machine, you must work as a team, utilizing everyone's brainpower to drill down, perfect, and procedurize each aspect of the sales process" (Chet Holmes, The Ultimate Sales Machine).
"If you can't describe what you are doing as a process, you don't know what you're doing" (W. Edwards Deming, Total Quality Management).
"The entrepreneurial perspective views business as a network of seamlessly integrated components, each contributing to some larger pattern that comes together in such a way as to produce a specifically planned result, a systematic way of doing business" (Michael Gerber, E-Myth Revisited).
"Systems are not sexy - but they really DO drive everything we do!" (Carrie Wilkerson, BarefootExecutiveOnline.com)
"If you need a new process and don't install it, you pay for it without getting it" (Ken Stork, president, Association of Manufacturing Excellence).
"A bad system will beat a good person every time" (W. Edwards Deming, Total Quality Management).
"94% of all failure is a result of the system... not people" (W. Edwards Deming).
“A cardinal principle of Total Quality escapes too many managers: you cannot continuously improve interdependent systems and processes until you progressively perfect interdependent, interpersonal relationships” (Stephen R. Covey).
“We build our business systems the way we build our cities: over time, without a plan, on top of ruins” (Gene Brown)
“At its core, a fully functioning business is basically a set of systems and processes” (John Jantsch, Duct Tape Marketing).
“All wealth is based upon systems” (Dan Kennedy, author and marketing coach).
"Think of these business systems as bridges. Bridges that will provide a path for you to cross safely ...to financial freedom. . . Let's take a dentist. A dentist spends years in school learning to become a self-contained system. You, as the client, get a toothache. You go see your dentist. He fixes your tooth. You pay and go home. You're happy and then tell all of your friends about your great dentist. In most cases, the dentist can do the entire job by himself. The problem is that if the dentist goes on vacation, so does his income. True business owners can go on vacation forever because they own a system, not a job. If the business owner is on vacation, the money still comes in" (Robert Kiyosaki, The CASHFLOW Quadrant).
"The best companies never transform to greatness in "one fell swoop. There is no single defining action, no grand program, no one killer innovation, no solitary lucky break, no miracle moment. Sustainable transformations [to greatness] follow a predictable pattern of build-up and breakthrough. Like pushing on a giant heavy flywheel, it takes a lot of effort to get the thing moving at all, but with persistent pushing in a consistent direction over a long period of time, the flywheel builds momentum, eventually hitting a point of breakthrough" (Jim Collins, Good to Great).
"The transformation to greatness described by Jim Collins requires steady dedication to the development of effective business systems" (Ron Carroll).
Quoting Myself - Ron Carroll
(Does anyone ever do that?)
"Systems are the essential building blocks of every successful business."
"Each customer contact is a moment of truth, a time when the relationship can be won or lost. Customers do business with companies that consistently meet their expectations--that deliver explicitly on their promise. Effective systems ensure that nothing is left to chance and that customers get what they want and expect every time."
"Customer dissatisfaction is usually the result of a breakdown in established business systems."
"Effective business systems make expectations clear to employees, improve job satisfaction, and reduce turnover. They also reduce training requirements and supervision. Good systems increase productivity, quality, safety and cleanliness. They produce a motivated workforce. Systems maximize the use of time, the most precious of resources."
"All breakthroughs in business performance come from innovation-offering something better, cheaper, faster, smaller, stronger, more efficient, and more remarkable that ever before. It can be a new invention, technology, process, or business concept. However, innovation is most often a significant variation or improvement to something that already exists. Innovation is the skill of developing the new "best solution"--from the customer's point of view. Improving business systems provides some of the greatest opportunities for innovation."
"A business is merely a vehicle for the owner to show off his system development skills-marketing, finance and operations. Profit is the result of an approving marketplace."
"Your business systems and processes are perfectly designed for the results you are getting. To get better results, you must continuously improve your systems at the detail level."
"The marketplace gives excellent returns and rewards for excellent performance, excellent products and excellent service [systems]. The market pays average rewards for average performance and below average rewards for below-average performance" (Brian Tracy, 100 Business Laws).
"It's the little things that make the big things possible. Only close attention to the fine details of any operation [systems] makes the operation first class" (J. Willard Marriott Sr., Marriott Hotels).
"Small differences in your [system] performance can lead to large differences in your results" (Brian Tracy, Motivational Coach).
Let me explain a breakthrough. It's when you find a method of doing something [system] that dramatically accelerates your ability to accomplish your goals (Chet Holmes, The Ultimate Sales Machine).
"If you don't have time to do it right [with systems] you must have time to do it over" (Author Unknown).
"I have never known a really successful man who deep in his heart did not understand the grind, the discipline it takes to win [as with building effective business systems and processes]" (Vince Lombardi, American Football Coach).
Consider three important system principles: "1) You don't get what you expect. You get what you inspect. 2) When you deal in generalities, you will never have success; but when you deal in specifics, you will rarely have a failure. 3) When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates" (Thomas S. Monson, Business and Religious Leader).
"You cannot manage what you cannot measure" (Peter Drucker, Business Author and Consultant).
"Anything that can be measured can be improved" (Michael Dell, Dell Computers).
"Watch the little things; a small leak will sink a great ship" (Benjamin Franklin).
"The most dangerous kind of waste is the waste we do not recognize" (Shigeo Shingo, Toyota Industrial Engineer).
"Time waste differs from material waste in that there can be no salvage. The easiest of all wastes and the hardest to correct is the waste of time, because wasted time does not litter the floor like wasted material" (Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company).
"When solving problems, dig at the roots instead of just hacking at the leaves" (Anthony J. D'Angelo, The College Blue Book).
Business Improvement: Some Ideas that May Disturb Your Thinking
Business Plans: What Smart People Say About Business Planning
Great Customer Service: 50 Quotes From People Who Know! (slideshow)