Think that you have what it takes to be a good leader? Try teaching a 10 year old how to make macaroni and cheese from scratch. This one activity will give you insight into your own leadership skills (and weaknesses) and help you build a stronger, more profitable business.
No One Is Born A Chef
My son was eager to learn how to cook. He gathered together the ingredients on the list and carefully laid them out on the counter. He then began to read through the recipe, and he stopped when he came to the word "Roux." A look of panic washed over his face as he realized that this seemingly simple task had suddenly become much bigger.
Most business owners have the same look of panic when asked to set up controls and systems for their businesses. At first, it seems like an easy task. Make a few flowcharts, write out a few word documents and you should be done in time for lunch. But the truth is, you don't yet have the experience to build out all your systems successfully. You have so much to learn from the practical experiences of growing your business. Before the bowl of macaroni, my son needed to learn some basic cooking techniques, much like you do with your business. Regard building systems as an iterative process--one you simply do bit by bit.
Much like in cooking, the best businesses are developed over time.
Good Food Takes Time
After a few YouTube videos, my son was able to craft a cheese sauce that wasn't half bad. He then mixed it with the pasta and declared the dish complete. When I pointed out that there were a few steps remaining- mainly the 30 minute bake time- he once again looked defeated.
The process of building your business systems can feel like forever. You are hungry and eager, but rushing the process will leave you with a subpar end result.
You won't ever have time to sit down and write out all your business systems in one fell swoop. This is not only an unreasonable fantasy; it would actually be quite dangerous. Why? First, at this stage, you are needed to both generate sales and handle part, if not all, of the operational side of your business. If you stop all this to exclusively create systems, your business will die. Think of it like your beating heart. Just as your body needs blood circulating, your business needs sales and cash flow. The key is to build your systems and infrastructure while maintaining your focus on generating sales and fulfilling your clients promises.
Patience will be rewarded 10-fold.
Too Many Cooks Won't Spoil Your Business
One of the best ways to get kids to each healthy, is to involve them in the cooking process. My son now knows how to prepare a meal, and he understands that difference between something that is home cooked and something that comes from a box.
The same is true for your staff. If you try to step away from the business and complete your business systems in one sitting, you'll end up force-feeding your team mandatory systems that you created without getting their input or meaningfully engaging your team in this process.
If you want our team to use, refine, and live your systems, you've got to get their involvement in creating them along the way. They are much more likely to adopt a system they helped create.
The end result- a tasty bowl of macaroni worth millions!