Episode # 88 - You Probably Aren't the Right Person to Create Systems
You’re probably not the right person to do the work of documenting all your systems. Why? Because you’re too close to them and too busy. Think about it. Systems are just documented processes and every time a person gets good at a process they find little shortcuts to do the work well. Sometimes those shortcuts are technological (the cache of your computer jumps you to the right page or a cookie remembers something for you) and as a result when someone tries to repeat a process there are obvious simple things that aren’t listed in the system. It could be passwords you keep on a sticky note or a website you use to convert a file before you work on it. Things like this are common.
Then there’s the time value. Remember that if you want a process to be repeatable by someone else you’re already admitting that it’s something you shouldn’t be spending time on. Documenting that process is even less effective use of your time… until you scale that across your whole company.
Today’s cast is a hard look at why you aren’t better systematized in your company and what you can do about it.
Here are the things we cover:
- The five biggest reasons you should find someone else to document your processes.
- What you can do about it.
Welcome to the Get your act together podcast. I'm your host, Kelly Reynolds, ops strategist, and agency coach at the Reynolds OBM agency. This podcast is all about building well-run and profitable businesses so that we can create the lives we dream of. Welcome to the Get your act together podcast. I am your host, Kelly Reynolds.
Today I want to talk to you about something radical, you may not be the best person to create your systems. So if you have been listening to me in any form on this podcast on social media at the grocery store, you will have heard me droning on and on about how important systems are, how necessary they are to run a really well-run business, how they are important for growth, there are vital for scaling. They are the reason things work. Maybe you're on the systems Boss, you're like I totally get it. Kelly, I understand why people want systems. There's consistency, people know what's going on. Everything is organized in case someone leaves. It's awesome, right? But the resistance usually comes with being overwhelmed by the idea. Like, how am I supposed to get everything organized, create the systems, write the SOPs, and do all of these things when I barely have five minutes to breathe? So many of us, especially when you're starting out, or if you don't have a big team, there is a lot to do. We are running our businesses, we are handling client work, you know, have to deal with financials or making graphics for social media, or all the things that we end up doing as business owners on top of the life stuff, like remembering what our kids look like, or being around for the rest of our family, right? There are so many things that take our time and our energy away. And making SOPs and dashboards and systems, it's overwhelming to even consider. It's, I know I need it, there's no way I can do it. So I'm going to say something radical to you, maybe you are probably not the best person to do the job.
You are not the one who should be creating these systems, these SOPs, and these dashboards. Why am I saying that? a few reasons. One, you have other stuff to do, right? We were just talking about it, you got kids, or a house or garden or client work, or you're trying to market and grow your business, you got stuff to do. And you got fancy CEO stuff, right? You have to look at budgets and projections for financial stuff, you have to be the face of the company, you're doing all of these things. And the thing is, there are more important things to do on the face of it than create an SOP, right? Because you can track along and do all the tasks that you're doing. Maybe your team can do them as well. But, you know, oh, we'll document it next time. And that works really well until you run into a place where someone gets sick, or they're not here, for some reason, right? COVID was a big example of this, like, people got sick, and they weren't there. And no one knew how to do the thing. And it got really messy. One of my clients a while back now, her business manager got into a car accident, she was in the hospital unconscious for weeks. And her business almost went bankrupt because no one knew where anything was. And everything was breaking. It was chaos, literal chaos. And it was stressful and crazy. So the problem is that you know that you need these systems, but they're never the most important thing for you to be doing. Which is why someone else should be doing them for you. So that way, when you get to a place where someone gets hit by a car, or you/they have COVID or they just quit, the right people move on. And we always think we have more time than we do. So having these systems in place, where we can help the business not to be in chaos.
The second thing is, that there is a good chance that as a CEO, as a leader, whatever you want to call yourself, you're not in love with operations and SOPs. And I know this is shocking to some of you, but like most of the leaders and visionaries I know they are not nerds like me about ops and systems. It takes a very special kind of person to get really excited about writing an SOP, creating a dashboard, or really getting excited about being organized. Right. And if that's not you, then you're not the best person to create those systems. And I will sit and enjoy the work of organizing things like this, I will write SOPs to take chaos and create order. And it makes me feel better about the world at large. When I'm organizing things and cleaning things up and checklists, that is not the way a lot of people work. And when they're running a business, the last thing they will want to do is create systems like this. And no matter how much they know, they want them seriously, like, it's not their thing. And it's drudgery, I'm sure it's something akin to me making graphics, it takes me so long to make three Canva graphics to put on social media. And I'm so proud of myself, and I feel like okay, I'm done. That's gonna be it for the week. Except that was like a day's worth of graphics. And it's drudgery to me. That is how other people look at operations and SOPs and systems. So if you don't do it, it's not the thing you should be doing.
Number three reason, this may not be the job for you, you are in it, you are in the weeds, you are doing the work, and you are too close to the thing to see the process properly. So when we help other business owners create systems, we often ask them to make videos of what they're doing. So let's say they're paying a bill, US 1000s for example, if they are paying a bill, they record their screen, they show us where everything is, what to click on all that and they can kind of talk us through it. So we can see how to do it, then we take that information and make all the systems on our side. The funny thing is, many times when you have visionary people, or like that kind of leadership person, they will make the video based on what they think is important, not the whole process. So in the example of paying a bill, they will be very concerned with what category it goes in, or what bank account it comes out of. But they never mentioned where you login to send the thing they never mentioned, go to Bank of America login and pay the check. They are only concerned with certain parts that matter to them. And they miss a good chunk of how to do the process. So you need fresh eyes on that process. So that you can say, Okay, one, there are huge gaps. You need to tell us more, or like this whole, this isn't a process, this is just some steps in a process. And you need someone to be able to see the whole process and say, okay, look, this is really wildly inefficient, you're doing this seven times, you're going back and forth with people, we could do it this way, it's much more efficient to do it that way. And sometimes you really just need someone on the outside looking in because they don't know how it's done, they have to be told each step, or they have to find the information, they're not guessing at anything. And it's a much cleaner way to write that process or that you know, that system, if you have those fresh eyes on a task.
Number four, business owners tend to create the systems they want them to be not the way they are. So going back to this idea of visionaries, leaders, cast these visions, which is what their job is in like mission vision values, what kind of offers are offering. But that's not what you want here in systems. When someone says, Oh, I think we should do it this way. And they tell you how to do it. It's a theory. And you're not really sure if it works, you're not sure if those systems work together. They're just kind of making it up. And then next week, after some discussion, they might come up with a completely different new theory on how this system should work. None of them have been actually used or tested, no one knows if they actually work. Instead, if we start with how the process works now, like how do you pay the bill now, we can then see how it's working. And then what we can change to make it better. If you start with a theory that's not tested and then try to write it down, you're going to end up with a process or system that really just doesn't work. There are parts missing, it's just all kind of jumbled up. So writing down the systems needs to be the actual process, actually how it works, and then adjusting. Because the whole idea of this is that you are trying to create a consistent product in your business, whatever the system is, either it's because you pay bills on time, or you are putting out consistent work to your clients, or the consistent emails that you're answering any customer service, all of the things. You want them to be consistent so that you can scale them. They can become easier, they can become good all the time. Your clients know what to expect from you because you're consistent. So this kind of idea that you're going to make it up as you go along. Or you're just going to create things out of thin air isn't very helpful in the scenario. And it's the reason why a lot of visionaries should not be creating the processes.
Number five, to be honest, you don't have time for this, you don't have time to sit and write SOPs, and you do not have time to map everything out in pretty little boxes. You don't, for all the reasons that we talked about, you don't have time for this, there are more important things for you to be doing. And you don't have time for this. And you shouldn't be staying up till midnight every night to try to cram this in so that you have systems. It just doesn't make sense, you have more important things to do. You don't have time. So if not you, then who should be doing this, who should be creating these systems? You can look to someone on your team that is organized and likes details. These are people that have the skills, right, they want to, they want to have things organized, they want things to run well. They know where to put things, they remember where they put things, things are organized, and those people can help you. If you have someone on your team like this, this would be helpful. Ask them if they can be the person that can help you with this. And if they're like me, they'll totally nerd out, get all excited about it. So if you don't have someone on your team that fits a spell, or you know, you don't have a team, you can hire someone to handle this for you. Okay, it's super important, it's super important to have the systems in place, so that you are not left stranded. When somebody leaves, someone gets sick. And on the other side, what if it all is going well, and you want to scale and grow really quickly and nothing's written down. There is no way to train anyone, there is no way to let someone know what the heck is going on. Or even just how we do things here. This is how we process this so that I can hire another person to process this. Or on the other a totally extreme end of it. What if you want to sell your business, most people will not want to buy a business that does not have processes, like documented out. Because if you're going to buy a business and all of the knowledge is in those people's heads, whoever those people are, that's not sellable. Their brains are not sellable. They need those processes mapped out for you. So for all of those reasons, systems are so important, from just beginning to remind yourself, know how to pay a bill or all the way up to you've scaled your business and you want to sell it and you need those things to be out of people's heads.
For all those reasons, systems are really vitally important. And that is why we have really, really dialed down to this service. Because I love doing it. And it's so important for businesses. So the way we do it, we come into the business, and we have a VIP day we have longer packages, it's all kind of the same idea. It's just different ways of doing it, is getting that knowledge out of the leaders have the teams had all of it and then putting it into a place that's organized, documented, and it can then be used to grow that business while you are working on something else. Because for all the reasons we just talked about, you're probably not the best person to create these systems. So if you need help with your systems, reach out to us. You can send us an email at team at Reynolds obm.com or reach out to me on Instagram or Facebook and I would love to help you out with your system. And I will talk to you guys next week.
Thank you so much for joining me this week. If you have an agency or want to create one, come join my Facebook community. Get your agency together, where we talk about all the things growing and scaling your agency for show notes more info on all the things head over to Reynoldsobm.com Follow me on Instagram and Facebook at Reynolds OBM. And finally, if you enjoy this podcast, I would love for you to give us a review on iTunes.