Are You Creating Art or Creating a Factory

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I have to warn you that today’s post is a bit of a ramble because I’m working through something that feels kind of big, but that I don’t know that I’ve concluded.

painting systemsIf you’ve read this blog or, for that matter, anything I’ve written you know that I believe a business is a system and marketing is perhaps the most important component system in any business. While this notion resonates with most of the small business owners I speak with, the practical application can be rather difficult to master.

Most business employ systems, whether they know it or not. We are naturally drawn to those systematic experiences that make things feel more effective and efficient, but often lose site of just what makes them so. The villain is this case is not systems or even a lack of systems, it’s our flawed systematic thought. If we look at improving our marketing return by tearing down failed systems or installing new ones, but do so with the same flawed systems thinking, we run the risk of simply producing another set of flawed processes.

Most people who work with marketing think of it as a set of tools that can be forged to produce and keep a result, a customer. It’s this thinking or rationality that must be changed first in order to truly impact the system that produces results.

So often when we think of building systems, or even the smallest of processes, we think about the steps we need to take in order to make sure something gets done in the most efficient manner – even if that work feels completely meaningless to the person operating the process.

What if instead we viewed every decision, every action, every system with the end impact in mind first and worked backwards?

You can have any number of desired results in mind, even breaking them down in a hierarchy of departments like lead generation and customer service. But, the key to any systems thinking is to get very clear about a specific tangible result and drive back to every point that can logically come into play to deliver that result.

Instead of thinking we need to develop a customer service system, think we want to make sure that 100% of our customer willingly refer us to their friends. Instead of thinking we need to develop a lead conversion system, think we want every prospect to conclude they would be crazy to choose someone else. Could that kind of thinking change how and what you built by way of a system? Could this kind of thinking pump meaning into every task, operated by every employee, at every level?

If this way of viewing any challenge or initiative crept into your business at the most foundational level I believe you would find systems creation much more like creating art than creating a factory.

Image credit: jaci XIII


systems thinking

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