People, Process, Systems

I'm sure you've heard of the band U2.  The band is heralded as one of the greatest bands of all time.  Their ability to deliver a consistent product and brand for over 30 years sets them apart as one of the most significant rock bands of all time.  All Rock n’ Roll aside - U2 the business is phenomenal.

Lately I’ve been discussing with friends about what differentiates a service provider or any  company for that matter, and more specifically, what makes a company great?

To me it comes down to 3 key ingredients: people, process and systems.

U2 has this in spades.  From the core group members, to producers, managers and support staff.  They clearly understand the need for surrounding themselves with great people.  They outsource key functions to people that help them plan, build and operate their business.  Great companies require great people and getting the tech right in your business is no different.

The second key ingredient is process.  Here’s the thing about process.   You need to have someone in your organization who is excited about it.  Let’s be honest… CEOs of companies don't have process in their DNA.  Sure, most know they want it, but in the end they don't do it, won't do it, or are incapable of doing it and there’s nothing wrong with that.  It just is what it is. 

I've always been a fan of process. I've also had the opportunity to work with and learn from some great business process people. Watching them do their thing and do their craft inspires me to be a better process person. Process gives you a road map of sorts. Process documentation can help you to get from here to there,  kind of like how Google Maps helps you get from one place to another.  At the end of the day process is a series of mini maps that help you and your staff learn and navigate your business. Best of all it allows you to look at your business and analyze it and make improvements such as streamlining or enhancing processes.

Last but not least and what I would consider the third leg of the stool are systems. I totally believe that people and process are instrumental but as time has passed, technology and systems have become core to the modern business.

In my travels I find that companies may do one or two of these things well but rarely do I find a company who does all three in a most excellent fashion. Maybe that's because as owners and executives we get so focused on running the business that we forget to take the time to step back and assess how our business is running.

It's important to look at the people, process and systems that are in place in your business today.  Evaluate whether or not you are doing them to the best of your abilities and if not, take action and make them better.  Having all three ingredients in place affords you the ability to have the best people operating via documented processes on systems that power your business.

One last note on systems.  There are things you can do to analyze your systems and your technology to make sure you're getting the most out of them.  I’d recommend contacting your tech team and asking them what you can do to improve.  By looking at these three pieces of the puzzle, these three key ingredients to the recipe that makes up your business, you'll have a great idea of what you need to do with your business today to improve and accelerate.