Systems Part II

I think I fell in love with systems (but did not know that at the time) when I first worked for McDonalds.  They were new in England and to be honest different to the restaurants here but that's a different story.

McDonalds was my second job at aged 16 and probably one of the most fun and the one I learned most from.  Imagine that, flipping burgers and squirting ketchup got me to where I am today!

Jesting aside McDonalds is known across the world because they have a product that people want, they don't need it but boy do they want it!  They also have a cohesive and strategized marketing campaign, from Copenhagen to New York to Singapore there is no mistaking a McDonalds.

Add to all that a perfectly systematized approach to get the product into the customers hand and receive payment within the shortest possible time, no matter where you are in the world the target is 2 minutes in line and 1 minute at the counter.

From ordering product, to making numerous hourly calculations, to how to train, to training, to management reporting and crew assessments, to scheduling and projecting there was a system and formula for it all.

So often businesses have everything in place but don't have the appropriate system to execute it.  Systems make or break a business.  And when I talk of systems I primarily mean a way to do a task or a group of tasks that has a flow.  Where there is flow there is a system.

So tonight I had to make dinner which was cooked and make a raw food dish for tomorrow, as well as write and publish my blog post.  It was 7.30pm when we arrived home. 

So I set about making the garbanzo and lentil masala over brown rice and the raw stuffed Decadent Mushrooms.  The break down was, masala: make brown rice (1.5hours), cook garbanzos and lentils, clean and chop mushrooms, onion, garlic, and cook the potatoes; for the raw Decadent Mushrooms I needed to clean the mushrooms, make the marinade, make both the brazil parmesan and the mushroom pate in the cuisinart.

First I put the rice in the rice cooker, knowing it would take 90 minutes I figured I would either be done by then or close to completion and the rice cooker would keep it warm.  Then I cubed the potatoes and put them over a pan of water to steam and set the timer.  I then cleaned and chopped the mushrooms, onions, garlic, gathered some spices and got to sautéing the onions, garlic and  spices before adding the lentils and mushrooms.  Lid on that pan for a few minutes and I went over to make the marinade for the raw mushrooms.

5 minutes later they were marinading.  Back to the mushrooms, nicely softening in the large skillet, I added fire roasted tomatoes.  Meanwhile I was listening to Alison Marks interview Bill Baren on the laptop in the kitchen.  There is nothing like the aroma of spices to make a home smell like home.

By this time the mushrooms were marinaded and the pate and parmesan was ready to assemble and package them.

Masala was gently bubbling on the stove doing its own thing and the only thing it asked for was an occasional stir.  Raw mushrooms were ready to put in the cooler in the morning.  Rice was still cooking.  Washing up was done.

Time to sit down and write my blog post.  All tasks accomplished and no hustle or overwhelm, just a gentle flow from one task to another with no overlap.  And that got me to thinking about the systems I automatically use in my daily business life.

I like systems I think because I am lazy and don't like doing something later that I could have done earlier.  I enjoying plotting out the progress of a system.  It makes my life easy.  And I can share it with others.

And that brings me to those that are not natural systems people, don't worry it's ok, we all have our thing.  And we all have a thing something else does better.  I am great with systems but horrible with technology!  If you are not a natural at integrating systems it is something that can be learned.  Look to those that have systems and learn from what they do or take a program.

Systems are something that you can integrate today and they will work for you forever.

May you have smooth systems and flow in your life and business.

Photo Credit:  http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1912