March 27th, 2011 9:33 AM by Lehel S.
The Power of Your Performance Systems
I'm a huge believer in systems to maximize our productivity.
Anything worth doing, especially if you have to do it more than once, is worth organizing and systematizing! I was reminded of this again this week.
For years, I delighted in bragging that because we invested in hardware and software, we had never had a serious computer virus. I kept hearing from friends and colleagues about their computer problems, and always smiled, smugly confident that my investment in anti-virus systems protected us from such things. Then, a month ago we got hit. Our systems slowed down, acted strangely, and had to be "cleaned."
Fortunately, we've had a long and mutually profitable relationship with our local computer "guru." Bill has kept our equipment in top condition and taken good care of us, always with a smile. He fixed us up and we were back to work.
Then, last week it happened again! A different virus with different symptoms, but another "bad" one.
And once again, a phone call resolved it. I don't know that Bill Abel is a genius or even unusual. I'm sure there are people like him who keep systems working all over the world, but from my perspective, what matters is that he is MY guru!
Once again, a phone call, a warm handshake, a knowing smile and his exquisite skills fixed our system. Whew!
My point is that we had a system in place and relationships established before we needed them. When an emergency hit, there was no panic, no particular frustration or confusion (well maybe just a little frustration!), and a phone call took care of it. Bill came through for us -- twice!
I love the old saying that, "It's easy when you know how."
So many things in life are "hard" if we have to improvise, figure it out or struggle on our own. And, too often, too many of us put ourselves in that situation over and over again.
Life is complex. There are technology issues connected with everything from cell phones to getting directions from my car's computer. From doing our taxes to setting up a video conference, from figuring the actual cost of a flight to billing insurance for a doctor visit, everything seems more complicated and more difficult than in the past.
And that's all the more reason to develop systems in advance!
This week, I talked with clients who recently up-graded to new smart phones. Wonderful little tools! And they immediately hired an expert to show them how to use them!
Very smart! I'm sure that like most people, they could follow directions, experiment, and eventually learn the new technology on their own. But, they spent a few dollars, got personalized instruction, and in a week are getting more utility (more value!) and have more confidence with their phones than most people acquire in months.
Training and systems don't cost, they pay!
The old American tradition of self-reliance is a wonderful thing. It's good to be strong, creative, persistent and so forth. We want those qualities in abundance! But it's also true that systems and training will beat trial-and-error almost every time.
Whether it's with your computers, your phones, your car, your health or any other important priority, develop and use systems! Invest in preparation before a crisis hits!
Two ancient stories reinforce the point: it wasn't raining when Noah built the ark! And, later, Jesus told a story about a "wise man" who built his house on a solid foundation, also before it started raining. In both cases, advance preparation worked out well.
Invest in systems and advance planning. Winners do! They buy insurance not only against the fires, floods and theft that may strike, but against the frustrations, limitations and technology challenges that can destroy our productivity in an instant. Develop systems, routines, checklists and agreements so when the inevitable strikes, you are prepared and can confidently go about your business.