Reading Into a Systems Mindset

3 Powerful Systems Perspectives from Business Thought Leaders

When I was growing up, one of the few shows on television I was allowed to watch unsupervised was Reading Rainbow.  Anybody else?  Looking back, it makes me laugh that I watched a television show… about reading.  Lucky for me, my love of reading remained, and I have never binge-watched anything on Netflix for an entire weekend.

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”

– Harry S. Truman

In the world of business, there are incredible minds sharing their experience and knowledge with us through their books.  One recurring concept is fundamental to taking your business to the next level: having a Systems Mindset.  I strongly believe this is a foundational requirement for any business leader to break through the ceilings they face growing their company.  In the famous words of LeVar Burton from Reading Rainbow, “Of course, you don’t have to take *my* word for it.”

I recommend all three of these titles be added to your library and shared with your team.  Links to the author’s websites have been added at the end of the post, make sure to visit them for more information.

Book 1: “Work the System” by Sam Carpenter

From the book:  “System: An enclosed entity, with numerous spinning wheels, all contributing to the singular purpose of that entity, that is, to accomplish a goal.”

“The base fact-of-life is this: In this moment, every single life-result is preceded by a 1 > 2 > 3 > 4 sequence of steps.  Here’s the simple formula: 1 > 2 > 3 > 4 = Result.  Therefore, the secret of “getting what one wants” lies in spending the majority or time managing the 1 > 2 > 3 > 4 part of the equation, adjusting the sequence of steps – the system – to produce the desired results.”

Zach’s thoughts:  I LOVE what Sam Carpenter is trying to hammer home here.  This is the Systems Mindset broken down into a fundamental belief.  What belief?  If you want different results, you have to take different actions.  You must first understand the process that led to the results you have, before you can adjust that process to produce a new (and improved) result.  Changing actions without knowledge of the system simply leads to more unpredictable results.  Monitor your results.  Manage your systems.

Monitor your results.  Manage your systems.

Book 2:  “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean” by Jamie Flinchbaugh and Andy Carlino

From the book:  “Can you cogently describe how your organization operates?  Beyond single one-word adjectives such as “chaotic” or “effective,” it is difficult to articulate how a company runs its business.  Yet the hallmark of any world-class organization is an ingrained system to coordinate actions, execute daily work routines, learn, and make improvements – in short, its operating system.  In these organizations (and hopefully yours too), the operating system is the engine that drives the company.”

Zach’s thoughts:  Listen to how practical the language is here: coordinate actions, execute daily work routines.  We are talking about the nuts and bolts of running your business.  If you don’t believe this is necessary in an “ingrained system” then your company will never be “world-class.”  It is also worth noting that you cannot build a Lean culture into any business that does not have a Systems Mindset.  The benefits Jamie and Andy describe of waste elimination and continuous improvement require establishing what they call “bedrock rules” – each designed to strengthen your operating system.

You cannot build a Lean culture into any business that does not have a Systems Mindset.

Book 3:  “Traction” by Gino Wickman

From the book:  “Your processes are your Way of doing business.  Successful organizations see their Way clearly and constantly refine it.  Due to lack of knowledge, this secret ingredient in business is the most neglected of the Six Key Components.  Most entrepreneurs don’t understand how powerful process can be, but when you apply it correctly, it works like magic, resulting in simplicity, scalability, efficiency, and profitability.”

“You will not get your company to the next level by keeping your processes in your head and winging it as you go.”

Zach’s thoughts:  First of all, read the book.  Developing a complete operating system for how you and your team do business is essential.  “Traction” presents a complete methodology from your 10 Year Vision all the way down to your weekly meetings.  Second, it’s time to be really honest with yourself.  Are you one of “most entrepreneurs” who don’t have a Systems Mindset?  Do the words simplicity, scalability, efficiency, and profitability sound more like a Christmas list than the direction your business is headed?  Hopefully now you are beginning to see, this is not an area to neglect.

Developing a complete operating system for how you and your team do business is essential.

Connect with me directly via the Contact page if you want to go deeper into developing a Systems Mindset.  Ready to schedule a FREE Phone Conversation to discuss the systems challenges you are facing in your business?  You can send me a request to schedule the call on the Consulting page.  Most of all, keep learning every day, and don’t forget to visit the Reading Rainbow.

I’ll see you next time.


Links to Author’s pages:

3 Comments on “Reading Into a Systems Mindset

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