The Systems Thinker Blog

Models for Exceptional Business Systems!

Posted byRon Carroll

Nature provides the perfect model for any business organization—systems working together in harmony to give its customers (you and I) the essential products and services required to sustain life.

The solar system provides light and warmth. Weather systems and ecosystems supply ongoing food and water. Our bodies give us many years of service thanks to eleven continuously operating internal systems—digestive, nervous, circulatory, muscular, and so forth. Each of these systems is responsible for a very specific result, and each must perform consistently to maintain the health of the body.

Through history, man has adopted similar patterns to solve problems and meet challenges. In a typical city, for example, we find highway systems, water systems, sewage systems, energy systems, and lighting systems. We often forget about these incredible systems until one is down.

System Failure

Just after the devastation of the hurricane Katrina, in New Orleans, a headline on the cover of Time Magazine said simply, "System Failure!"

Better Systems - Better Business

The great companies of our time have all built their success around innovative and powerful business systems and processes:

  • McDonald's restaurants introduced a system of fast and convenient food. They've now built over 35,000 stores worldwide that systematically produce the same menu utilizing low-cost labor.

  • Federal Express created a revolutionary system to deliver packages overnight by redistributing from a central hub.

  • COSTCO sells merchandise at cost—plus about 12% for administration—and makes their profit on a system of membership fees.

  • Walt Disney amusement parks have rides (fun systems) that move large numbers of people quickly and efficiently to prevent long waits. The parks are also immaculately clean. Disney has thousands of systems that give customers a happy and memorable experience.

  • is an Internet system that provides the most inexpensive, easy to evaluate, convenient to buy, and complete selection of products found anywhere.

  • Wal-Mart has built an unmatched logistics system that efficiently moves vast quantities of merchandise to and from regional warehouses all over the world.

These companies, and many others, have built their fortunes on one or more remarkable business systems that serve customers better than anyone else in their target market.

Your New Business Model

Once you put on your System Thinker's hat, and closely examine your organization, you will discover something special you can do to differentiate your business from all others. Look for ways to impress and delight customers. When you discover your true business purpose, systemize it. Create a new business model. Make the world a better place!


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Tags: Systems Thinker, Business Systems, System Example