In the “Harry Potter” series, no witch or wizard dared to speak the name of evil Lord Voldemort. Why? Speaking his name gives him power.
Likewise, give a lamb or calf a name, and it becomes a pet. Give a group of ballplayers a name and they become a team. Give a good movie or piece of music a name and it will be remembered by millions of people through generations of time.
Naming something gives it identity, purpose, and importance. Naming gives it POWER!
The Value of a Name
In business, the name of a company, product, or even a web page URL can create great financial value. Some names become brands so powerful they take on a life of their own, such as the Hershey bar, Kleenex, Xerox copies, and the iPhone.
In the accounting business of my former life, I “productized” an accounting service with a registered trademark name—the Profit Acceleration System®. Giving an imaginative, compelling, and unforgettable name to a business service immediately elevates its perceived value.
Name Your Business Systems
In the typical small and midsize business, there is a lot of hustle-and-bustle as people scurry around getting work done. They are engaged in a variety of business activities that have grown out of a need to accomplish essential tasks—marketing and sales, customer service, hiring, order fulfillment, and so forth.
However, as you become a Systems Thinker, you begin to see your business activities as interrelated systems and subsystems—the essential building blocks of your business. Each business system has a specific purpose and is of greater or lesser importance to the goals of your organization. (Your lead generation system is probably more important than your custodial system.) In addition, each system or process is either performing as expected or not producing the desired results.
The simple point: W. Edwards Deming (Total Quality Management) remarked, “If you can’t describe a process, you don’t know anything about it.” Giving a name to a business system or process is the first step to describing it.
Naming Gives Power
The moment you see your business activities as specific systems—AND THE MOMENT YOU NAME THEM—they become more powerful. Here’s why.
Once you name a system, you can:
- Distinguish it as a unique business function with a specific identity and purpose.
- Give it an owner, someone who is accountable for its results.
- Create a team around it that takes delight in its achievements.
- Measure it to determine if it is producing as expected.
- Improve it by removing bottlenecks and weak links.
- Celebrate its success with recognition and rewards.
- Value it as a true business asset.
What are Your Core Business Systems?
Do you and your employees recognize your important business systems by name? For example, do you talk about how you can improve your Sales-Lead Follow-up System, your New-Customer Intake or Onboarding System, or your Employee Incentive System? Have you even thought about these types of activities as business systems?
Does everyone in your company know which business systems they are part of or responsible for? Do they know every day how well their systems are performing, and what they might do to improve?
If your people aren’t connected to the performance of named business systems or processes, I guarantee you are not tapping into the potential power and profit these systems can generate.
So, go put a name on each of your core business systems. This simple act will raise consciousness, elevate performance, and give you a better-run company.
And Remember: “Names have power” (Rick Riordan, “The Lightning Thief”).