Hey guys! I’ve been thinking about systems and processes for a while now, and I’m ready to put some of my thinking on the table. For the rest of this week I’m going to be posting a series about systems and processes.
Oh, before we get started, I’d love two things from you:
- Let me know if this series is helpful to you.
- Let me know how this thinking can be improved.
And now with no further delay…
Three reasons you need systems:
#1 Systems/processes are the steps that will take you to your vision
Benjamin Franklin is reported to have said, “Vision without implementation is hallucination.” As I survey the landscape of organizations in general and the church in particular, I see a lot of hallucinating going on! Relatively speaking, there’s no shortage of vision, but there is a shortage of implementation and execution. I am persuaded that one of the leading reasons for excessive hallucinating is the lack of intentional, healthy systems and processes.
What is a system? A system is a group of processes working together to achieve a desired result. (I’ll talk about this tomorrow)
If your vision doesn’t have steps (aka systems & processes) from where you are to where you want to be, then chances are you’re not going to end up there.
Systems and processes are the steps that you take to achieve your goal.
#2 Systems/processes help you reproduce success and/or avoid avoidable failure
In order for systems and processes to be effective they need to be written down and repeated the same way every time. After you have repeated the same step, the same way, multiple times, you will begin to notice patterns. This assumes that you are tracking the results of your efforts (a critical systems component that we’ll talk about later). Let’s say that you are creating a system to assimilate people into your church/organization. A simple four step process would be:
- The first time a guest attends your event, collect contact information by having them fill out an “Information Card”
- Follow up with the individual within 24 hours of seeing them (e-mail; phone call; Facebook; etc.)
- During the follow up, invite them to an activity/event that they would likely find helpful (based on their “stage of life”)
- When they show attend the next event, be prepared to point them to a “next step”… one step closer to full integration.
This is a simple system, but for our purposes it works. The key here is to measure effectiveness. If you NEVER have anyone return… you’re going to want to re-invent your system. If everyone who attends comes back and ultimately becomes a participating member in your organization, you’re going to want to package and sell that system! The key is to measure effectiveness! How many people are coming for the first time? How many people are returning for a second time? How many people are becoming participating members? What are you doing that facilitates this?
A lot of churches/organizations are not sure how they’re getting what they’re getting, in terms of results. If you have a written plan that you execute and measure faithfully, you will be able to identify why you’re getting the results you’re getting and consequently reproduce success and avoid avoidable failure!
#3 Systems save you time, energy, money, and stress.
“How did we do this last time?” AHHHHHHH!!! That question is a sure sign that you don’t have systems/processes in place! It’s also guarantees inconsistent results and a ton of stress!
Nothing is more frustrating to a leader than people spending time trying to figure out how to do something that they regularly do! Nothing will consume more time, money, energy, and create more stress than trying to answer this question, “How did we do this last time?”
STOP IT! Stop winging it! Figure out how to do it… write it down… do what you write down every time… measure your effectiveness, and improve your systems for maximum results!
So there it is, three reasons you need systems/processes!
They’ll get you to your vision quicker, cheaper, and with more left over than if you don’t have them!
(Tomorrow: “What are organizational systems/processes?” A short explanation of systems and processes)