The world needs visionary innovators to solve problems, and it also needs solid systems to bring those solutions to the people who need them. Unfortunately, these two types of thought processes are often incompatible. It’s hard to be creative when you have to focus on the details at the same time.
You can try to do both, or you can focus on your zone of genius and team up with someone who has complementary strengths.
I’m your typical Type A, anal retentive, borderline OCD, systems savant. My DVDs are organized alphabetically and I never enter a grocery store without a shopping list. Having unread emails more than a day old gives me heart palpitations and it’s a great day if I get to make an Excel chart.
Yeah, I’m one of those…
If I haven’t scared you away yet I’ll tell you why my personal brand of crazy is great news for you. My penchant for creating order has made me the de-facto project manager/committee leader/event planner for nearly every group project, professional organization, and family frisbee golf tournament of which I’ve been part. So I’ve had a lot of practice creating game plans, managing the details, and staying on schedule so stuff gets done and everyone has fun.
So what does a nerd like me do when they grow up?
My business experience began in Corporate America as an accountant where I got to create Excel reports and play around with computer systems and data to my heart’s content. I loved figuring out how I could get things done faster and easier by harnessing the powers of my computer or my coworkers. The problem is that big business comes with a lot of rules, which sometimes are necessary, but seriously cramped my style in terms of being able to improve processes and technology without cutting through a lot of red tape.
It was time for a change.
After getting tired of spinning my wheels I decided to find a better application for my talents. What I love about working with entrepreneurs is their agility and decisiveness. They have the power to decide on and implement a solution almost instantly to improve their business. I bring the systematization skills to help the business virtually run itself behind the scenes, and entrepreneurs get their workday back to focus on creating and bringing their amazing visions to life. We make a great team!
Some of my systematization philosophies:
Ask ‘Why?’. Stop reacting to problems as they come up and fix the root cause so you don’t have to deal with it again.
Optimizing is about process + mindset. Technology and assistants can be great tools but are not a magic bullet to fix your business on their own, and without the right foundation can even make things worse.
Simplicity is your savior. You don’t need to be ‘high-tech’ or spend a lot of money to have a systematized business. Figure out your desired outcome and choose the solution that makes sense for you. Don’t be tempted to chase after the next shiny app or software service that everyone else is using.
A place for everything and everything in its place. This adage applies to the digital world as well as the physical world. Once you decide how you want to store and organize your business information you’ll know exactly where to find it and save yourself a ton of time.
If you’re the only one that can do it, you’re doing it wrong. You are the creative mastermind of your business strategy, but anyone should be able to run the day-to-day. If somebody else can’t do it, it’s a sign you need better processes in place.
Structure = Freedom. This might seem counter-intuitive, but systems remove the struggle of deciding how to deal with problems and even prevent most of them from happening in the first place. All you have to do is follow the process and get back to what you really want to be doing.
Even if some don’t find the process of systematizing as much fun as I do, everyone can appreciate the benefit of it: more time! I love using my extra time playing disc golf competitively, reading anything from personal development books and blogs to suspense thrillers and classic novels, and chilling with my pet rabbit Monty (as in Python).
What would you do with more time? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.