Before I dive into this final article on systems development, I want to thank those of you who have written to me during the course of this series. Your participation in this process has made writing this series so rewarding. In particular, I want to thank Bob C. who provided the inspiration I needed for this last piece.
Last week I covered how an operations manual can save your business (and your life), much like the operations manual on Apollo 13 saved Jim Lovell’s life. This week, I want to take you on a journey into systems strategy:
- Reality dictates you will be building systems while working in your existing business. We call this working in ‘Old Co’.
- Using the EMyth Seven Dynamics will allow you to prioritize which systems to work on and in what order, to get results.
- Creating a systems strategy helps you to prioritize working on your new business (what your business will look like in the future). We call this working on ‘New Co’.
During the last long-haul flight I was on, I re-watched ‘Apollo 13’ (the one with Tom Hanks as Jim Lovell). Perhaps not the best choice as I was hurtling through the sky at 500 mph in a tin-can myself, but there’s something to be said for the thrill. If you haven’t seen the film, it's based on real-life events and it’s gripping.
This week I want to share a business development concept that will help you turn your current frustrations into operational systems. It’s one small step for you and your team, but it will be one giant leap for your business.
There were some days as a business owner when I felt completely consumed by my business. The only thing I could count on was a frustrating lack of control as I raced around putting out fires. On days like that, I found myself wishing I was like the members of the Apollo program: the mad scientist, the iron-jawed leader, and the astronaut:
“By the end of the decade we will have put a man on the moon and safely returned him to Earth.” —President J.F. Kennedy, 1962
In my first article in this series on systems, I introduced you to the idea that as the owner and entrepreneur in your business, you are also the systems engineer. In this second article, I’m proposing that in solving frustrations with better designed system solutions, we often start in the wrong place.
I can remember watching the moon landings on a black and white television as a young boy and being fascinated by the idea. I’m still young enough at heart to feel excited by big rockets and the notion of space travel. I apologize up-front if space isn’t your thing but building rockets and flying to the moon is a good metaphor that can help us think about the value of systems. It might not seem like there’s much in common between your business and mission control, but the systems you use can have just as much of an impact as the systems NASA used to land on the moon. Systems in your business can do anything, like give you the freedom to pursue your astronaut dreams, or something simple like ease all the frustrations that come with managing your finances.
Turn a Prickly Pineapple into the Perfect Vacation Pina Colada
At well-past closing time, you’re staring at an inbox full of emails. With only a day to go until your vacation, it seems like your “time-off” will be spent dodging phone calls from employees. Looks like the golden sand, palm trees, and blue ocean you’ve been dreaming of will just be the background of your computer screen—again.