Better Systems Mean More Freedom

May 31, 2018 at 4:01 PM

DaltonPlan® Business Information Newsletter

Setting the Benchmark for Business Performance ● Issue 128 - 2018

Deano’s Comment

Better Systems Mean More Freedom

Everyone wants to free up more time to be able to work on their business, not in it - and take a stress-free holiday. Everyone wants to work smarter, not harder. (See the way I managed to slip two old clichés into the same paragraph). They may be old, but it doesn’t mean that they’re not still true!

If you want to be able to refine and improve your operational systems, then you will need to document them for clarity of process. It’s easy and the rewards can be enormous.

Reduce Costs and Increase Profits

The best way to do this is to create flow charts for those processes that are the most critical. They will enable you to take control of your business, reduce costs and increase profits.

Free Online App

One of my clients recently introduced me to a great little online app called LucidChart -  - which enables you to create and share flow charts with staff within your business and also with people outside of your organisation, such as consultants like me!

It’s free for the basic version but it’s still only NZ$5 per month even if you upgrade to the next level.

A Few Rules for Success

So, how does one write an effective flow chart that will be effective in getting staff to follow your instructions for the best way to perform certain tasks?

There are six main rules.

Give Commands - Write your instructions in the imperative tense, that is to say, give commands. For example, you could write, “Click the Save button at top, left”.

User Involvement - Get the “Users” involved in the design process. This will give them “ownership” of their flow charts so that they will be more willing use them more effectively.

Mutually Exclusive - Make sure each process box contains only a single task so that it doesn’t overlap with the task in the next process box.

Collectively Exhaustive - Make sure all processes are included in the flow chart so that the task set can be fully completed.

Keep It Simple - Write what is actually taking place and keep it simple so that it is easily understood. Don’t use abbreviations or acronyms for example PDQ or ASAP.

Intuitive Process - Finally, flow charts are made up of independent and dependent variables. An independent variable exists as a process on its own. A dependant variable needs input from an independent variable in order to work

Also, arrows showing the direction and order of the process flow are important. I use red to show the main flow of processes and black to indicate that information needs to be obtained in order to complete a process before moving on to the next process box.

You can also add some colour to the boxes, but not too much. This incites the user to action, apparently.

So, there you are. Free up more of your valuable time to do what you want to do.

If you would like a little booklet about this subject explained in more detail, with various examples, click  HERE.

If you have any questions after reading this information, go to Contact Us on our website and type in your request.

By Dean Dalton DBA

Director, DaltonPlan® Business Action Planning Limited