What businesses need more now than ever is a sustainable foundation of systems; both in terms of business knowledge and leadership but as well as personal discipline. While many young adults entering the workforce have been trained by Power Rangers and a seemingly dysfunctional educational system trying to survive of minimal funding, our young job seekers are focusing on “what’s in it for me?” instead of “how can I add value?”
From both a Spiral Dynamics and NeuroStrategies perspective, the frequent cause of business failure is a lack of systems – whether they are business systems or thinking systems.
As simple as checklist may seem, most businesses fail to document their daily procedures. This creates havoc on many fronts including not being able to anticipate business needs, customer needs, supply chain constraints, scheduling resources, etc. Depending on the scale of the system, the results can be both cataclysmic and yet easily avoidable.
Even the most basic business system can be created one step at a time:
- Specific – be clear and unambigous
- Measureable – make sure that you can quantify the results
- Achievable or Action-oriented – It needs to be something that YOU (or your team) can accomplish – not just waiting and hoping for some external force to do something.
- Realistic – Make it something that can be accomplished within your current constraints. If you or your team is new at this, make the initial milestones/goals easily achievable. Why? Because you’ll begin to build momentum by rewarding correct/approximate behaviors. Most people only reward themselves if they accomplish a complex, muti-phase, long-term plan. Start with quick wins, reward the desired results, and the build from there!
- Time-Driven – This is where most people experience the most frustration. Your boss is breathing down your neck, your customers are complaining, you feel that the work will never be done, and there is a faint light at the end of the tunnel – and believe it’s an oncoming train
Business systems are great, but without the right thinking systems, they’re worthless. This is where the military thinking comes in particularly handy. The Military conditions in these qualities with (literally) military precision. Precision in that any deviance is NOT tolerated – especially in the beginning. Once a team begins to execute with results, the rules/constraints can be loosened (within reason).
Men and women in the armed forces have at least 4 years of this extensive conditioning.