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Business Systems & Really Great Chili: Part 3

Posted by Jim Tennant on Wed, Mar 25, 2015 @ 09:03 AM

In part 2 of Business Systems & Really Great Chili, I provided tips and takeaways for the steps you should take to plan out and execute your business systems. Today, I’ll be sharing the final steps required to successfully carryout this approach.  

Step 6: Adjust and repeat

Super, everything went well and according to plan. It is all going just exactly as you expected… almost.  There are a couple of things you would like to see work better. There have been a few people in your office asking about “why this… “, “how that… “, or “could we use the old way just on… ”. These bugs can be worked out as long as three things happen. Number one, listen.  Number two, measure. Number three, tell.  

Key increments in this step include:

  • Listen; listen and record the questions and complaints.  The questions will offer both problems and solutions.  The complaints are annoying but are sometimes valuable.
  • Measure; see items above.  You only have to keep measuring until you’re done improving.  When will you be done improving?
  • Tell; “tell” is a polite way of saying “demand." This isn’t just you insisting on your own way. Consistent usage and operation are an absolute requirement if the new system is to be successful. And even if the new system is a total disaster no one will know for sure if it isn’t used across the board. The worst thing that can happen at this stage is anyone saying “well, this is the way I like to do it.”  Sorry, not allowed. If that person has an improvement idea great! They might be exactly correct in their opinion.  But until that opinion becomes the revised method that everyone uses, no one can be allowed to use it. Improve continuously, modify incrementally. This means we all do it the same way until we all change it, then we all do it the same “new” way, until we change it.

Step 7:  There is no last step 

A system as important to the success of your business as this is must be one that is constantly observed and improved.  Any major change to your business system can be monumental in its consequences. Careful planning and diligent execution will go a long way in minimizing the risks. It has to be said that there are also serious risks connected to not changing. Our job is to do what is best for our businesses, not what is easiest.  

One last note about chili

I know there are many “aficionados” who frown or even wince when they see chili with thickening or (gasp) beans. Here’s my point of view. Chili has never been haut cuisine. It came from the homes of hard working people who knew a lot about making a meal stretch. They also learned a lot about creating variety from a small list of ingredients. Which would you rather have, restaurant chili, or Great Aunt Mickey’s homemade? For the chili purist (i.e. residents of the Great State), here are the complete directions I had to the place where Mom was born, “Leave Odessa Texas headed west, keep going till you find it.” She was one of 10 children in a family solely funded by Pap cleaning wooden oil tanks. The only thing you can see there now is what’s left of Grandma’s cactus garden. Texas, I love you all, you do want you want. I’m putting beans in my chili.

Thanks for reading! 

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