3 Steps to Building a Business System

The topic of today's ArchitectCEO Update is: herding kids.

Every year my kids swim on the swim team.

This year, two of my kids qualified for the time trials.

The kids who get the best times at the time trials get to participate in the regional finals here in Central California.

Running one of these meets is a huge logistical challenge.

Not to mention … on this particular Saturday the temperature was 104 F degrees (40 degrees Celsius).

Imagine trying to herd a bunch of 6 year-olds and get them to go to the right place at the right time to keep the meet running smoothly.

Yes … a logistical nightmare.

I helped the organizers run the meet.

My job was simple: lead the kids from the staging area to the appropriate swim lanes at the appropriate times.

Simple right?

It is, if you're dealing with adults who know how to get to the right swim lanes.

I was dealing with a bunch of kids and teenagers more interested in Pokemon Go and talking to their friends than paying attention to when and where they were supposed to be swimming.

Plus my meager brain is wired to focus on one thing at one time; my mental capacity was overrun.

I was sweating bullets, not only from the heat, but also with the worry that some kid would be in the wrong lane and his or her time wouldn't be counted.

It would be my fault.

Fortunately, the organizers had a good system in place to make sure that this didn't happen.

Here's how it worked:

The kids would line up in the staging area and wait for their names to be called.

When their names were called, they would sit down in a chair that had a number on it, one through eight. These numbers corresponded to the swim lanes one through eight.

Once the kids were lined up in order in their seats, my job was to lead them to the pool and make sure they didn't get out of order.

Without a system in place, mass confusion and chaos would have ensued.

Twenty minutes into the swim meet we discovered our system needed to be tweaked to be more effective and reduce the likelihood of a kid missing a heat.

And this is our parable for today.

Where in your architecture firm are you dealing with chaos because you either don't have a system in place, or people don't follow the system?

Systems ensure consistent results, but sometimes the results don't appear for months or years later.

A business system consists of three parts: a trigger, a process, and a result.

For example, let's say that you have a system in your firm of making one business development or networking call every day.

The system is simple.

The trigger is the arrival of a new day.

The action is to pick up the telephone and dial a networking contact.

The result is that a voicemail was left or a conversation was had.

The results of this effort won't bring instant results, but over the course of months and years this small system means the difference between a steady flow of high-quality, profitable projects, and a firm that struggles with an anemic pipeline.

The “A” in SMART Practice Method stands for “Autonomous.”

This means that your team members can act autonomously without micro-management.

If you'd like to build an autonomous team, I invite you to attend my next free SMART Practice Method online training.

There is no charge to attend this 60 minute presentation, all you need to do is click here and register with your best email address.

Carpe diem.

Enoch Bartlett Sears



Enoch Bartlett Sears is the founder of the Architect Business Institute, Business of Architecture and co-founder of the Architect Marketing Institute. He helps architects become category leaders in their market. Enoch hosts the #1 rated interview podcast for architects, the Business of Architecture Show where prominent guests like M. Arthur Gensler, Jr. and Thom Mayne share tips and strategies for success in architecture.

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