Hi Friend, by the time you read this blog it will be the last week of the year. If you’re anything like me your heart will be bursting and so will your waist band. 😊Kids are home on winter break. Things are moving a little slower. Since my leadership career started, I have always needed this week to reflect and recharge in order to start the next year strong. If you’ve been keeping up with the last month of blog posts, you know that we’ve been talking about Finishing the Year Well. In my mind, I finish the year well by having these five steps accomplished.
- Your plan to cross the Finish Line, SPRINT if you must. Read it here.
- Your plan to Reflect. What went well? What didn’t go as well that needs to be left in 2021? Read it here.
- Your plan to review your Systems to make sure you sustain your results and wellness into the new year. Or – adjust them.
- Your plan for Celebration and Gratitude.
- Your Plan to Kick Off 2022 grounded in your Mission, Vision and Values (MVV) with clear goals.
It’s going to be fast and furious but we’re going to wrap up steps three and four this week. Then I will share Step 5 on Monday, January 3rd. I hope you plan on sticking with me. I know this isn’t the most inspiring content, but I also know that many of you run your own businesses or are leaders in your company and your homes. I believe that finishing 2021 well and taking time to reflect on these topics puts you in the absolute best position to have a successful 2022. You’ve probably heard John Maxwell say “You don’t learn from experience, you learn from evaluated experience.” Today, we’re going to evaluate our experiences and specifically the experience and results that came from a result of executing systems.
So, why should you evaluate your systems? There are a lot of reasons. I can’t even think about systems without hearing my coach Doug Lennick say “Elena, 5% of long-term results come from Motivation and Self Discipline. 90% of long-term results come from effective systems. What’s the problem with relying on Motivation and Self Discipline? On a good day it fades, on a bad day, it never shows up.” I bet I’ve heard him say it 100 times. The first time I really heard it and understood it, it gave me a huge sense of relief. Up until that point, I felt I needed to be the most motivated and self-disciplined person at all times. Especially in a formal leader role, if I wasn’t the most motivated and self disciplined, how could I expect my team to follow suit. When I realized that 90% of my energy around driving results needed to be focused my systems and my leader’s systems, it really took some pressure off. Only 5% of my energy and focus needed to be spent being the most motivated, motivational and self-disciplined leader I could be. If you were to bet on two things in 2022 to make the most impact in your business, bet on yourself and bet on effective systems to drive results and culture. Those are two bet I would always be willing to make.
SO, what’s a system? A system is a documented procedure that outlines how to do something within your organization or your business to drive results consistently. My coach Ray Kelly always says, “a good system removes discretion at the operating level.” You don’t have to think about it. The system is defined and documented. Within a larger organization, a good system doesn’t rely on just one person. It can be “owned” by someone, but it can also be executed by anyone if the system owner isn’t available. As a business owner and people leader, your need for systems goes up dramatically. You’ll need training systems, communication systems, reward and recognition systems, client experience systems within each stage of your client interactions, you’ll need activity tracking systems and accountability systems. If you’re like me and you’re a business of one, your systems are created as a result of your business plan and the primary leading indicators that drive your results around your goals and values. In my business, I have business development systems, activity tracking systems, personal development systems, communication systems (this blog is an example of one), client experience systems and accountability systems. Within some of my other values, specifically my health, my family and my faith, I mostly have activity tracking systems. I know for some of you that might sound weird. You might be thinking, “Why do need to track the activities you do within your values. If you value them, don’t you just do them?” Well, that would lead me to rely on motivation and self-discipline. I’m actually not the most disciplined person I know, not even close. However, if I know that every month I want to make sure I have a minimum of 23 days of dedicated quiet time with God (I wish I could say it was every day) spent reading, learning and praying, I should have a system to track it and drive the result. If I have a way to track it, I know it will get done. I have a little system built into my morning and I will mark it on my calendar when I’m done. At the end of the week and month, I tally up my results on the little scoreboard I’ve created. Some of you are already cringing on this one because you’re thinking I’ve turned my spiritual life into a check the box activity. Ha! But for me, I know God honors my commitment. Just relax people, it might start as checking the box and it finishes as spiritual transformation over a period of time because God is God and she can do things like that (you’re also cringing that I just called God a ‘she,’ but she told me I was created in her image so that’s why I said that). Bottom line, I know for me, I wouldn’t be growing in my faith (which is my number one value) if I didn’t have a system to support it. In the same way that my marriage wouldn’t be growing if we didn’t have a system to support our relationship growth…welcome to the date night system!
Ok, back to you and your 2021 results. If you crushed your goals, it’s a good indicator that you have systems that drove those results. However, I would still encourage you to evaluate the systems and processes that you have within your business. Did some drive more results than others? Did some systems land flat even though you had a great year. For example, you might have reached your revenue or specific business results but did you miss on some of the systems that support your ideal culture like recognition, development and/or communication systems (which of course can negatively impact employee retention and ultimately revenue if not addressed). Once in a while I will find in coaching business owners that they crushed their goals, but they have no idea how it happened or how to replicate it. This is not the biggest problem. You can work through this with good reflection and evaluation of your business results. However, don’t just move on into your next year without “evaluation of your experience and results.” At that point, you’re just “hoping” things work again, and hope is not an effective system.
If you didn’t reach your primary goals that you set out to achieve it’s also a great time to evaluate the systems you have in your business or organization. There’s a lot of reasons why you didn’t reach the goal(s). There is some really great news for you here. If you didn’t reach the goal, it’s not because you aren’t motivated or self-disciplined enough. That only drives 5% of your long-term results. Perhaps you don’t have the right systems in place. Maybe you don’t have any systems in place. That’s ok. That’s why you’re reading this. Perhaps you have great systems but they all rely on you to execute and you don’t have the time to execute all of them. When you have the right systems in place but not enough time to execute them, it’s time to hire. When it’s time to hire, I like to hire to the least amount of $/Hour work. For example, if you have quite a few systems that can be executed by a team member at $20/hour and other systems that require a team member at $100/hour. Perhaps you start with the $20/hour systems. I have a few exceptions to this rule but I’m just going to share one. If there are systems that are extremely valuable to the business results that you will not do, or cannot do, you must hire to those systems. It doesn’t matter what the $/hour rate is to execute the system, it must be done. No kidding here, it’s time to hire. I want to also address a trap that I frequently step into. Apparently, I need to learn this lesson occasionally. There will be systems in your business that you can do, you might even be the best at them. That doesn’t mean that you need to do them, or that you should do them. When I “own” too my systems in my business, results typically are impacted…negatively. Or, my other values go to the wayside. If you can’t own the systems well, or if you can’t stay well owning the systems, find someone else to own the systems. I feel like I need to repeat that last statement for the people in the back. If you can’t stay “well” owning the systems, find someone else to own the system.
How do you know you need a system or process in your business? If the long-term results of the business rely on this activity, you need a system. Or, if the activity needs to be done more than once, you need a system/process. How many times have you written the same confirmation email? How many times have you jotted down notes for a prospect phone call? How many times have developed a monthly meeting agenda for your team? How many times have you put together slides for an all employee meeting. How many times have you recreated an event invite? If you do something more than once, create a system/process. If you’re a financial advisor, there is a podcast that speaks to this that you can access at the Efficient Advisor Podcast, found wherever you listen to podcasts, or check out Libby’s website here. Please, listen to it. Make sure to subscribe to this podcast, Libby shares amazing and tactical wisdom around the systems that drove 7-Figure revenue on three working days a week.
If your goals are important to you, develop systems to achieve them. Do not rely on your motivation or self-discipline. Here are some quick and easy steps to follow.
- Choose an activity that needs to be done on repeat in your business to drive results consistently.
- Write out the steps to complete the activity. Get feedback from trusted resource.
- Document it where your team can see it and access it regularly.
- Communicate it to the people that will use it. Then communicate it more than you ever thought you’d ever in a million years need to communicate.
- Create a tracker or score board to make sure the system is executed, and the results are documented.
- Communicate the results of the system and the connection to your vision, mission and values back to the people executing the system and watch your culture change.
If you bet on two things in 2022, bet on yourself and your systems. They will drive the results.
For my coaching clients, if you’d like support in this area, we will evaluate your systems in January. If you aren’t a coaching client but would like support to evaluate a system that drives results in your business or personal life, I am offering a 30-minute Systems Success session in January. This is a courtesy laser focused 30-minute session where you’ll walk away with feedback and insight on a system that will drive results more consistently or robustly in your business. Please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, I can’t wait to connect with you on your systems. It will make a difference in your business results and in your life.
I see you. I love you. I’m cheering you on!