Making Change Stick

26th September 2018

How often do you follow your own business processes, to the letter?

It’s a sensitive question.

After all, as owner of your business, you expect your staff to implement the systems you put in place. Whether those systems dictate how you hire people, set out a process for invoicing or managing payroll, or establish an onboarding process for new clients, you know that it’s key to your company’s growth.

You need systems in place to get consistent results, avoid mistakes, ensure that your business is not overly dependent on any one individual, and can scale quickly….

But do you follow them yourself? It isn’t always the case.

I recently came across the CEO of a company which supplied a number of corporates with very rigid purchasing systems.

Ordinarily, his staff wouldn’t dream of supplying any material to this client without a Purchase Order.

They have that financial process in place for good reason: Without that PO, they won’t get paid on time, creating cashflow issues. But when the customer contacted the CEO directly to request some emergency supplies, he helped them out – without first obtaining a Purchase Order.

After the work was done and the invoice sent, the company was not paid.

The client’s accounts department did not reveal what the problem was and the team spent weeks chasing the unpaid invoice… only to find out, far too late, that it was because their boss hadn’t followed financial protocol.

The CEO had good reason to behave the way he did.

He believed he was serving an important customer by attending to their needs quickly.

But at the same time, he set a bad example for his team by not following processes everyone was bound by.

Not following your own processes is the fourth barrier to getting systems embedded in your company.

As I discussed in my last few blogs, new systems can mean upheaval and work for your team. So it can be a struggle to get them to use them – even if the systems are crucial for your future.

It can be tempting for you to “opt out”, too, even if you were the one pushing for the systems to be created.

You might feel that the systems are there for staff members who are making mistakes or who are still learning – not for you.

Perhaps you feel you don’t have time to follow the processes, or are not fully familiar with all the details.

But it’s a mistake.

The late entrepreneur Jim Rohn once declared: “For things to change, first I must change.” This is crucial in a business setting.

As CEO, you have to lead by example. If you don’t embrace the new ways of working, why should your staff? But when they see that you are committed to the systems and processes you put in place, it’s harder to ignore them.

You set the tone in your organisation.   

Don’t let your company’s systemisation fail because of you. It’s too important.

Here at Insight Associates, we help companies systematise their financial management.

If you want your company to grow fast, your finances have to run like clockwork. You can’t afford any nasty surprises, any cashflow disasters or any question marks over exactly how much money you have coming in or going out. You need to make sure that your accounts are timely and accurate…

That you, as CEO, understand your numbers, and have a clear view of what’s in the financial pipeline a month, two months, three months down the road….

And that you have all the financial information you need to make good financial decisions. We put in place the systems you need, to make all that happen. If that’s the kind of financial management you want, hit ‘reply’ and let’s talk.

Corporates take this for granted, and you need it too in order to hit £5 million, £8 million, £10 million turnover – and beyond.  

A good reason to personally lead the systemisation charge, wouldn’t you agree?

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