Systemisation - Reinforcing the change

03rd October 2018

Let’s say you implemented a new process for staff with company credit cards to provide receipts for their expenses, but your staff roundly ignored it.

As a result, your accounts were a total mess, because you had no paperwork to justify many of the charges.

What would you do to motivate your people to follow the new process?

It’s a challenge a client of ours overcame incredibly effectively.

Their company had instituted a new system, which dictated that staff with company credit cards had to submit their receipts by a certain date.

The new process was followed by everyone for the first month.

But over time, the team fell back into their old way of working and forgot the new system even existed. They would submit their receipts months later – if at all.

Given that many had large credit limits because they were travelling internationally, this was a serious accounting problem.

So the CEO did something a little radical (and possibly, nowadays, illegal).

He realised that there was no incentive for staff to do the paperwork – so he gave them one. If the recepits were not submitted by the correct date, the entire sum on the company credit card was deducted from their next paycheck.

Harsh, yes - but you can bet everyone followed the new system from that day forward!

Over the last few emails, I’ve been talking about the big barriers stopping companies systematising effectively.

Things like:

  • Not planning the new system out or aligning it with your profit goals
  • Seeing technology as a cost rather than an investment
  • Having a team that’s not on board with the change
  • The leaders of the company not following new processes themselves.

The fifth and final barrier is not taking steps to make change stick.

You cannot simply announce a new process, and then expect everyone to follow it. Even if they understand why the new system is necessary and perhaps even crucial for your growth, it’s human nature to fall back into old patterns.

You must have a process in place to constantly reinforce the change, so the old way of working is forgotten. You have to work hard to embed the new systems over time.

You can start by announcing and perhaps even celebrating the launch of the new system.

Send memos to the team highlighting the benefits of following new process. Talking about it in team meetings. Make sure everyone understands why it’s necessary.

And then continue drumming home the message that the system must be used. Just like my client and their new expenses system, you can motivate people to use your system by having consequences in place if they don’t – as well as incentives if they do. Sticks and carrots work wonders! Highlight and praise people who have used the system effectively. If your work improves as a result, tell your team about how effective the system has been.

Making sure new systems are followed takes dedication and time.

But the impact is great. With good systems in place, your staff can work to a more consistent standard, they can work faster, and you become less dependent on any one individual.

Ultimately, you can scale more quickly. Having good systems and processes in place is the mark of a “grown up”, well-oiled company.

So think about your business.

What can you systematise in the way you handle your cash, that would make mistakes less likely…? What financial systems can you put in place, to give you more insight into how much money your business is making, what you’re spending and how much money is coming in?

What systems can you put in place, to help you make better financial decisions?

If you’re not sure, it’s time we talked.

We can systemetise your financial management – and help you embed new systems with your staff.

Just hit ‘reply’ to this email and let’s start that conversation.

You’re a few smart strategies away from hitting those profit goals and growing from £1 million or £2 million turnover, to £5m, £10m and beyond.

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