Working to design a system that leads to effective ministry at SeaCoast Grace. As I re-read The E Myth I am more convinced than ever that without a well designed system everything is left to chance. With a well designed system, ordinary people can do extraordinary things. My time at Fellowship of The Woodlands taught me that it is possible to think through what needs to be done and then carefully design a system that that meets needs effectively. Not just efficiently. Effectiveness is the goal.
What would it look like to design a system? The E Myth has a great description of a wonderful hotel where everything is designed to let the customer know that their interests have been anticipated. Beautifully decorated. Staffed by employees who are trained to listen to their guests and ask the right questions. Rooms are cleaned and prepared according to well-thought-out specifications. And all of the system is described in the Operations Manual.
Can this really happen? Can this happen at SeaCoast Grace? Could it happen in your organization? I’ve seen it before. It can happen. It’s not easy. It is hard work. But the rewards are very satisfying.
What is the first step? Innovation. First you innovate. I love this line from The E Myth:
Innovation is at the heart of every successful business. It asks the question: "What is standing in the way of my customer getting what he wants from my business?" It always takes the customer’s point of view. At the same time, innovation simplifies your business to its critical essentials. It should make things easier in your business, otherwise it’s not innovation but complication.
That is big. What if we asked ourselves that question at the beginning of every discussion about how we could improve our system?
Next step is Quantification. Quantification means recording the numbers related to your innovation. For example, I’ve begun calling every person that turns in a "first time guest card". Just to thank them for coming. I ask everyone I call to look me up on the patio the next time they come. What does that do? It gives them the idea that we’re paying attention to the fact that they turned in a card in order to let us know they were there. Quantification might be as simple as recording who I’ve called and then being prepared to see them the next day. At the same time, I want to see if there’s an increase in the number who turn in a second time or third time card. I can only do that if I’m recording my findings. And all of this is done so that we can determine if the innovation of calling first time guests is effective.
And the last step is Orchestration. Once you’ve innovated and quantified your innovation to determine if it is effective, you orchestrate. "Orchestration is the elimination of discretion, or choice, from the operating level of your business." This is the point where extraordinary results can be obtained by ordinary people. Not so that we are efficient. So that we are effective at accomplishing our mission. And that is where we need to go! What about you?