Business Systems and Processes.

The Systems Thinker Blog

10 Reasons Why Your Business Systems Fail!

Poor performance and frustration within an organization are symptoms of broken systems or processes. A law of physics (entropy) states that all things, including business systems, naturally tend to break down over time.

You will periodically need to repair, improve, or elevate a business system—or components used by the system—to a higher level of functioning. For example, the carpenter struggling to cut wood could sharpen the saw blade, buy a new blade with carbide tips, or even replace the saw with one that has a more powerful motor. Each solution takes him to a higher level of performance.

Sharpen the Saw Blade

Stand back for a moment and look at your under-performing system. Have you made any faulty assumptions? It is possible that your understanding of either the problem or the solution is wrong? You may need to re-examine your logic, or perhaps drill-down to find the root cause of the problem; the apparent cause is frequently incorrect.

Discover the Cause of System Failure

Below are ten possible reasons for the breakdown of business systems or processes in your organization:

  1. Managers do not have sufficient customer or worker input during the system development process. (You haven’t listened carefully to what your customers or employees want or need. Ask again!)
  2. The system is not in writing or lacks clarity, ownership, measurement, or reporting. (Your business system is haphazard, ever-changing, and passed on by word-of-mouth. Get it formalized!)
  3. The process is slow or produces too many defects, both of which drive up costs. (Your system or process suffers from poor design, inadequate training, or lack of measurement and feedback. Take steps to eliminate defects and delay!)
  4. The system is overloaded and cannot handle the demand. (In-baskets are full or things are stacked up, waiting to be worked on. Increase the capacity of the system. Eliminate the bottleneck!)
  5. The business system lacks focus. It is too broad, far-reaching, or complex. It has more than one purpose or objective. (Divide the system into smaller and more manageable subsystems. Reduce and simplify!)
  6. The system is dependent upon other processes that are not performing well. (Use a “5-Why Analysis” to identify the true source of the problem; then go fix it first!)
  7. Data and feedback are used to punish people rather than to improve performance. (Most problems are your fault for not creating a good system in the first place. Provide effective training. Look first for faulty business systems, not faulty people!)
  8. The new system or process is not carefully deployed. (Workers lack preparation or training. They don’t have the desire to discontinue the old process or the patience to let the new process succeed. They may fear change or worry about having their performance measured. Deploy new systems or processes with preparation, sensitivity, and encouragement. Let people know what’s in it for them!)
  9. Information about system performance is based on gut feelings or bad data and does not reflect the true condition. (Your gut is good at sensing a problem, but not so reliable at diagnosing the problem. Get the facts—MEASURE!)
  10. Managers avoid facing the brutal facts about system failures. (Confront the truth about problems that emerge from personal frustration, customer complaints, or financial data. Get real, and get going!)

Do This Now

Tomorrow, while in the Zone, think about the most frustrating part of your business. What system or process does that frustration point too—lead generation, customer service, collections, production—or perhaps a more specific subsystem? Then, consider the ten-reasons-for-failure described above to identify the source of the problem. You will quickly discover where to focus your improvement efforts.

*****Special Alert: My Retirement is Your Gain*****

To give back to the entrepreneurial community, I HAVE DECIDED TO GIVE AWAY MY VALUABLE SYSTEMS-BUILDING SOFTWARE, ecOURSE, AND OTHER INFORMATION ABSOLUTELY FREE. By filling out the form on this page, you will go directly to a download page. This is not hype. There is no catch. You will receive a software product and a “college equivalent” eCourse on how to develop effective business systems and processes. Customers have been paying for this software and eCourse for fourteen years (see What Cutomers Are Saying).

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You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I will not be trying to sell you because you are getting everything for FREE, much more than I have described here. I won’t be contacting you; however, you can contact me for help with the software or your business at any time. Please browse around my website. If you have any questions, email me, Ron Carroll, at

I hope you enjoy and benefit from this FREE offer. It was a labor of love for me to develop. Becoming a Systems Thinker and using the Box Theory™ methodology will be one of the best decisions you have ever made.

I’ll be cheering you on from my quiet fishing hole in the mountains of Utah.

I want to learn how to create remarkable business systems …

Just Retired
Gone Fishing
Your Lucky Day

It's time for me to focus on other things. Many hours and dollars have gone into my software and written materials over the last fourteen years. Now it's time to give back. This is not a gimmick. There is nothing to buy. I give it all to you for free. If you use the software and apply the principles, you can create a remarkable company. See Below. Have fun!

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Michael Gerber, "E-Myth"

Michael Gerber

"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."

W. Edwards Deming, Total Quality Management

W. Edwards Deming

"If you can't describe what you are doing as a process, you don't know what you're doing. . . . 94% of all failure is a result of the system, not people."