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Consulting Engineers

How can putting systems in place in your business help your staff work better as a team?

Have you got good systems in place in your business?

Or is it “organised chaos”?

I am sure it won’t surprise you if I tell you – as an engineer – that systems and processes are very important to me. I’m highly logical and I want everyone in the team to be able to find the information they need, even if someone is on holiday.

So we train everyone in the business from day one so that they understand how we work. One example is that everyone must save all of the information we might need for a project in a shared “job” folder and not on their desktop where only they can access it.

The truth is, we don’t have a system in place for absolutely everything – we’re working on it – but I am very pedantic about everyone being able to access relevant files. This means we can provide a consistent level of service to our customers.

In some of the more creative parts of our sector, I know that putting systems in place might be more challenging. But looking at how you work and streamlining and refining it can make a big difference to how easy it is to complete work and stay on track with projects. For a small time investment, you’ll reap the benefits later on.

You might even find that a greater level of organisation frees up headspace for greater creativity.

Two key benefits to putting in place systems

The main benefit of having good systems in place is that it makes it much easier to run multiple projects and to complete tasks consistently. This is going to reduce your stress levels and help you give a better service to your customers.

But a secondary benefit when you have a team is that it enables your staff to work without you. If everything needs your involvement then you can become a bottleneck in your business, slowing things down and causing issues when you go on holiday.

Whereas with systems in place everyone knows what’s happening, there’s a standard way of working, and all information is easily accessible to everyone who needs it. You might even get to relax when you’re away from your business!

There are two good books that deal well with this topic and give you ideas on the best approach to take:

1. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber

This book talks about creating a business that can thrive without you. The emphasis is on working on your business rather than in it i.e. acting like the manager of your business and working on growing the business, rather than doing the day-to-day work of your business. Even if you don’t plan to extract yourself from your business, it’s a useful read.

2. The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

This book is very much a “does what it says on the tin” book, in that the emphasis is on solving many of the problems we all share by using checklists.

Written by a surgeon, the examples included in the book are from the medical sector, the aviation industry and the skyscraper construction industry.

Checklists are a great tool for helping you and your team to work together, get better results and avoid human error.

If you want to talk more about this, I am always happy to discuss what I have done in my own business to create better systems and processes.

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