Systems are the life line of every organization, without systems strategies are rendered ineffective. The second most important step in growing your organization is to develop systems that can support and sustain the mission of the organization. Systems are all about people and how they are arranged to ensure the smooth running of the organization. Ensure you have the right people in the right positions doing what they do best.
At the start of the organization, entrepreneurs begin by filling every function from answering the phones to actually implementing project activities. The organization eventually gets to the point where the entrepreneur hires his or her first employee-but often, this doesn’t solve the problem. The entrepreneur gets caught up in trying to make sure the employee does things “right.”
A system is a specified way of doing things, and it can apply to every single part of the organization. You can develop the “best way” to answer the phones, and then you can write that way down in the form of a script. From then on out, anyone who answers the phone need only observe the script to answer the phones just like you would. If the employee leaves the company, the next employee just needs to stick to the script. There can be scripts for pitching presentations. There can be specific instructions for marketing.
As you develop more and more systems you free yourself more and more. You can turn your attention away from performing each function of your organization. Instead, you can work on finding other people to perform those functions. You can verify they are following your systems, and then you can work on more systems. This is what working “on” your organization, instead of “in” your organization, is all about.
When someone buys a franchise they aren’t just buying a brand name-they are buying the specific systems that led to the franchise’s success. Systems are the exact reason why McDonalds is such as success-most McDonald’s franchises runs exactly the way every other McDonalds does, regardless of who owns or manages any individual branch. If you develop systems for your organization you are opening up the possibility of turning your organization into a scalable, replicatable model.
Having systems in place, all carefully recorded in an operations manual, will make your organization far more fundable. A lack of systems means you’re really just implementing activities but not building sustainable model. Funders, donors and partners are Keen on working with organisations that are scalable and sustainable. All this boils down to the systems that you develop for your organization.