I was in the office of an investment advisor yesterday. Our discussion involved the investment rewards and risks of stocks, bonds, mutual funds and a variety of alternative investments. The advisor has thirty eight years of experience and loves his job.
He confided he is delighted to stay up late at night studying tiny graphs of individual stock and fund performances for the last decade. (yawn) It's as natural to him as bridling a horse is to you.
But, in our conversation, the advisor confessed to me that attaching a document to an e-mail is something he just finally mastered last week.
His office assistants showed him how to do it. They created a system for him to follow. It seems hard to believe that someone who talks about P/E ratios, leveraged buy outs and hedging needs a system of step 1, step 2, step 3 and step 4 to attach a document to his e-mail as his fumbling fingers square dance with his computer keyboard. But the truth is, he does.
Processes that come naturally to you are unnatural to others.
- Changing a flat tire on a car
- Using an ATM for a cash withdrawal
- Building a camp fire
Even though millions of people know how to do these tasks; millions don't know.
It's not a question of intelligence or ability; it's a matter of learning by having a system to follow.
It's about seeing, hearing, doing and using a system to operate with.
Think about some of the basic tasks in your horse business:
- Mucking and Bedding
- Turn out
- Blanket changing
They're all tasks that you can do without even thinking about them, but is that true for all of your employees and helpers?
I suspect your answer is a thundering NO!
I'm convinced there is no simple business. Selling a cup of coffee has its complexities.
What's so complex about selling coffee?
Nothing is left to chance at Starbucks Coffee. Management at Starbucks knows the value of systems and they make a point to help their employees by providing everyone with "The Green Apron Book". It includes Starbucks' service philosophy, a system itself. "The Green Apron Book" , a supplement to a well developed training system, keeps the Starbucks systems standardized and consistent at world wide locations.
Even though you may never have multiple locations, you can and should develop your own systems for your business. You undoubtedly have learned through experience that leaving things to chance is expensive. "She'll figure it out and learn on her own", may be a true statement. But, you'll be paying the tuition for her "on the job" education.
Take some time in the coming weeks to put your business systems on paper.
Don't write it out from memory. Walk through it, live it and feel it as you describe the steps in writing. Start with feeding and watering, then tackle stall mucking and bedding. The more systems you identify, the easier it will be for your help to operate without your constant supervision.
No need to obsess over every detail as you capture your systems in words on paper. You can add and edit in time. Your experienced employees are going to help you, too, since they live the systems every day.
Written systems will save you time, contribute to improved efficiency and reduce conflict and frustration with employees.
Get going now on your business systems unless you prefer the default system.
It's called "chaos".