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Top Ten Reasons Good People Don’t Always Win (Number 10 in a 10-part Series)

systems#10: Not Having Good Systems, Tools & Technology

Reason Number 10 why good people don’t always win is inadequate or non-existing systems.

I believe that most people are well-intended and want to do the right thing. Where I think they fail is they have systems that don’t support them or no real systems at all.

When I consult with business owners, we focus on where they want to go, how to get there and the things that need fixing in order to succeed. Often they blame their people for the shortcomings. But it’s usually the systems that are the problem rather than the people.

System Defined: any formulated, regular or special method, plan or procedure.

The First System I Remember
I was raised on a farm, and when I was about 4 years old, I remember seeing my father in our dairy barn with his hat turned backward. I know now that many young people wear their caps with brims facing rearward, but at that time it looked strange.

So I asked my Dad why he had his hat on funny. And that’s when he explained his “system”. You see, we had a bullpen with a watering tank for the bull. It had to be filled with a hose and it took a while to fill it. Rather than wait for the tank to be topped off, my Dad would go about other chores while it was filling. But it’s easy to forget to turn the water off, and I’m guessing he had done so before. But now, when the tank was full, he would turn the water off and turn his hat frontward again. If he forgot, when he got back to the house, he would naturally reach for the brim of his hat and if it wasn’t there, he’d realize he must go back to the barn and turn it off to prevent a small flood.

That was my early introduction to systems. And I’ve developed many of my own since then.

A system can be as simple as a . . .

  • checklist
  • place for your keys
  • mnemonic
  • PIM (Personal Information Manager)
  • formula

Or it can be as complicated as a project management program to build a nuclear power plant. But we all need systems to create and live our best life and grow our businesses with efficiency and effectiveness.

Years ago, I created an acronym for SYSTEMS . . .

Save
Yourself
Substantial
Time
Energy
Money and
Stress

Systems allow you to focus on what’s really important because systems handle the details. Systems make your life easier, make it easier to delegate and outsource, and make your business simpler to run—and SELL.

So what keeps someone from having good systems? Well, many people think systems aren’t important and/or they think they’re too small to employ a system. But that’s simply not true.

We can all regularly make improvements by remembering my SODA acronym . . .

Systematize
Organize
Delegate
Automate

One of the best systems or tools I’ve ever encountered for keeping track of information is Microsoft’s OneNote. Think of it has a system with an unlimited number of notebooks, an unlimited number of sections (and groups), an unlimited number of pages, and an unlimited size to all the pages.

Our latest product, The Best Life Navigator™, is built on OneNote. It’s a repository for all the information in your life. Here are just a few of the sections it contains:

  • CANI (Constant And Never-ending Improvement)
  • Finances
  • Goals
  • Inspiration
  • Journals
  • Network
  • Planning/Tracking
  • Projects . . . . and much more

Here are some examples of areas to consider developing or improving systems:

  • Filing
  • Bookkeeping
  • Marketing
  • Manufacturing
  • Mailing & Shipping
  • Events
  • Product Development
  • Storage
  • Hiring

What systems do you have? Have you ever listed the systems you have in place to help you achieve your goals?

Think. And then document what you do. Who? What? When? Where? Why? And how?

Shane Fielder, The Innovative Samurai says, “Never start something without a template”. Don’t re-invent wheels. And don’t start from scratch. Use templates. MS Office has tons of templates. Search for them online. Try them out. Save yourself time and effort. The Best Life Navigator is a template—a very thorough and advanced template for creating your ideal life.

Tools & Technology
It’s the same with tools. It’s all about leverage. A farmer with a tractor and a large plow is, of course, going to be able to accomplish much more than a man with a mule and a single-share plow.

So make sure you have the tools you need to get things done with more ease, accuracy and speed.

We must constantly be on the lookout to create and improve our systems and upgrade and replace outdated tools and technology.

Resources
The Best Life Navigator™ allows you to keep your personal and professional growth front and center. It has the tools you need for your success—all in one place.

Take Action

1. Get and start using OneNote and master it with www.SuccessNetRecommends.com/uim
2. Order The Best Life Navigator™ with Goal Planner
3. Create at least one new system this week

Please Tell Us What You Think
We’ve published this article and previous ones here on my Blog. Please add your comments, questions and suggestions at the bottom of the post. Your feedback is important. If you disagree with anything, say so. If you have questions, ask. If you have additional insights or resources, please share. I promise to read every one. Thank you.

Previous installments of this series are located here on my Blog.

1. Insufficient Desire
2. Lack of—or Erroneous—Beliefs
3. Confusion, Lack of Clarity
4. Lack of Focus and Concentration
5. Inadequate Support
6. Fear
7. Poor Tracking
8. Poor Disciplines, Bad Habits
9. Insufficient Planning

Poor Tracking (Number 7 is a 10-Part Series)

PoorTrackingWould you watch a football game where nobody was keeping score and there wasn’t any time-keeper?

Would you attempt to operate a business with no sales reports, profit and loss statement, or balance sheet?

Would you put your money in a bank without being able to see an accurate report of what you had in your accounts?

Of course not.

And yet, most people try to run their lives with little or no tacking of where they are, where they’re going or what kind of progress they’re making. You can’t win if you don’t play, but you also can’t win if you don’t know what the score is.

To live your best life, you have to keep score. You have to know your numbers..

But I know people who have thousands of stats about baseball and football in their head but don’t have hardly ANY stats on their life, their goals and their finances.

You can’t change what you don’t measure. And what gets measured gets done. If you don’t measure you are just a wandering generality.

You have to know where you are, where you’re going, why you are doing it and how you plan to get there in order to have the clarity that leads to power.

It’s the only way to focus. If you’re serious about living your best life and achieving your goals, you MUST commit to keeping meaningful metrics.

If you have a business without sufficient metrics, you have a hobby instead of a business. And if you aren’t serious about tracking, you simply aren’t serious about success.

I created an acronym a few years back as a reminder of how important this is:

Measure

Essentials

To

Reach

Incredible

Clarity and

Success

This is the M in SMART Goals: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Time-Bound.

Good tracking of performance indicators is not hard and can actually be fun. You can even make a game of it. And the pay-offs are substantial.

So what should you track? Anything that impacts your performance or results in achieving your objectives. It will vary depending upon the complexity, importance and length of time required to reach your goals.

Here are some examples:

  • Credit score
  • Time invested
  • New customers
  • Income & Expenses
  • Wins & Losses
  • Results
  • Progress
  • Health
    • weight
    • exercise activity
    • food intake
    • measurements
    • blood pressure
  • Speed
  • Profits
  • Sales

In every important goal you have—and especially your top three—you must ask yourself how you will track your progress and how you will know how you are doing.

I believe that feedback is the breakfast of champions—and good metrics provide good feedback. Remember that visible is memorable. Make your metrics easy to see, not hidden away in some obscure file or desk drawer. Use graphs and charts and make your data come alive.

Most financial information for businesses and even personal finances are too historical to do you much good. You need timely updates, quick feedback and up-to-date reporting. The more timely your tracking, the more success you can expect.

So what keeps you from using meaningful metrics to track, guide and win? There are many, I’m sure. But here’s what I’ve encountered the most:

  • You’ve never been sold on how powerful and important they are
  • Keeping stats sound boring and dull
  • Tracking looks like hard work
  • Don’t know which indicators are important to track
  • Being overwhelmed by too many stats
  • Not wanting to face the real numbers
  • Thinking it will take too much time

Strategies
Make it easy to do. If it’s hard or time-consuming you won’t do it. So look for ways to make it simple and easy. Use tools and apps. Spreadsheets are a great way to record, track and graph information. It’s worth learning how to create and use spreadsheets well. And there are many templates already available for free.

Use white boards, poster boards and screen savers to keep your information visible.

Create your own “Snapshot” and/or Dashboard.

For accounting, QuickBooks (for business) and Quicken (for personal use) are inexpensive and easy to use.

Make a game out of it. Make it fun and you’ll find it fun to do.

Here’s an example of some of our top performance indicators that we track here at SuccessNet:

  • Promotions and their results
  • Visitors: new, unique, # of accesses
  • Open rates of emails sent
  • New contacts
  • Sales
  • New subscribers, new members
  • Current mailing list size
  • Unsubscribes
  • Cost per customer
  • Average sale per customer
  • Cost per sale, conversion rate
  • Comparison of averages, maximums, minimums, last year, last month

And here are a few that a small retail store would track:

  • Daily sales, weather, other influences
  • Sales calls, closes, prospects, inquiries
  • Net worth
  • Profit and Loss
  • Inventory
  • Returns

I also recommend the use of SWOT Analysis—for life and your business. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It’s not so much tracking as it is a benchmark for where you are. See the resource below for a full explanation.

Resources

 

Take Action

1. Pick at least three performance indicators to track and start tracking
a. At least a couple for each Top Goal
2. Do a SWOT analysis on your business, then add to it over the next week
3. Create a Month-End Snapshot

And hang in there. It will get easier, more habitual and more fun the more you do it. I like what Robin Sharma says about change: “Change is difficult in the beginning, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.”

Please Tell Us What You Think
I’ve published this article and the previous one here on my Blog. Please add your comments, questions and suggestions at the bottom of the post. Your feedback and engagement is important. If you disagree with anything, say so. If you have questions, ask. If you have additional insights or resources, please share. I promise to read every one. Thank you.

BTW, you’ll gain even greater value from this series if you have a copy of my book, The Achievement Code: The 3C Formula for Getting What You Truly Want (available in print or Kindle). Details at www.TheAchievementCode.com

Previous installments of this series are located here on my Blog.

1. Insufficient Desire
2. Lack of—or Erroneous—Beliefs
3. Confusion, Lack of Clarity
4. Lack of Focus and Concentration
5. Inadequate Support
6. Fear

Please share this series with your friends. We thank you—and so will your friends.

Fear (6th in a 10-part Series)

“Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.”

—Dorothy Thompson

Number Six of The Top Ten Reasons Good People Don’t Always Win is fear.

Objectives for this lesson:

  • Understand your fears better
  • Examine the fears that keep you from winning
  • Look closely at your fear of failure
  • Re-frame failure

Main Premises

  • Everyone has fears—but most are unfounded
  • Fear CAN be your friend. Fear can teach you. Fear can keep you from doing stupid stuff—But mostly it runs you
  • Fear isn’t something your mind possesses; it possesses your mind.
  • Fears are very sneaky
  • To fully embrace your dreams, you MUST confront your fears

Top Fears
According to some recent studies, these are the top fears people say they have:

  1. Flying
  2. Public speaking
  3. Heights
  4. Darkness
  5. Intimacy
  6. Death
  7. Failure
  8. Rejection
  9. Spiders
  10. Commitments

Number 7 and 8 are closely related, and keep more good people from winning than anything else.

Fear of failure is the biggest killer of big dreams. But not having a goal is much more to be feared than not reaching one. All successful people have failed—usually many times. It’s part of being successful.

From the book (and movie) Dune . . .

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

—Frank Herbert

Identify Your Fears
What are you afraid of? What are your demons? I recommend you write your fears out. Bring them out into the light of day. The mere act of writing them down seems to make them smaller and less scary.

A fear named is a fear half slain.

Most Helpful Questions
What’s the worst that can happen? What’s the worst-case scenario? Exaggerate that worst-case scenario in your mind because it rarely can be that bad. But once you can accept the worst, you can face your fear with courage.

One more question that should get you thinking . . . What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

Re-frame Failure
The fear of failure keeps many people from getting excited about their dream—or from even trying. It’s the biggest killer of big dreams.

But not having a goal is much more to be feared than not reaching one.

All successful people have failed—usually many times. It’s part of being successful.

From there you can make a game-plan to overcome them. But as long as they’re in the dark and undefined, they have the potential to overwhelm you.

“A belief is not merely an idea the mind possesses;
it is an idea that possesses the mind.”

—Robert Bolton

The road to success is paved with disappointment. Losers call it failure; but winners call it feedback.

We have to reframe the whole idea of failure. It really is part of achieving goals. We need to get comfortable with failing (learning).

Fail fast and fail often (more feedback)
Ben Zander, in his book, Radiating Possibility, says that when we make a mistake, we should say, “how fascinating!” Because the more you fail, the more feedback you get. And the more efforts you make, the higher the chances of you having success more quickly.

Mistakes are missed-takes. Like the director of a movie making the actors perform many ‘takes’ until he’s happy with the result. And much like Hollywood, the best life movie we’re creating can have many takes as well.

Thomas J. Watson, the founder of IBM, said, “If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.”

And with sufficient desire, you can handle the challenges of failure and setbacks. I like what Willie Jolley says, too: “A setback is a setup for a comeback.”

The important thing here is that in addition to having a clear goal, you also have a goal that inspires and motivates you.

Having a clear and powerful Why can do that. Your big Why can overcome whatever fears you have.

You need to be truly excited about your goals. Get fired up. Enthusiasm is contagious. Because if you’re not excited about your goal, you can’t expect anyone else to be. And big goals need other people. In fact, if you think you can accomplish your goal entirely by yourself, I submit that your goal probably isn’t big enough.

“He who has a Why to live for, can bear almost any How.”

—Friedrich Nietzsche

What we must do is to live out of our hopes and dreams rather than out of our fears.

In your life, either fear wins or freedom wins. Choose freedom.

  • Resources
    The Best Life Navigator™ launches soon. It allows you to keep your personal and professional growth front and center. It has the tools you need for your success—all in one place. The Navigator is uniquely designed to help you . . .

    • better understand yourself
    • create your best life
    • challenge yourself
    • track your progress
  • Stay close to SuccessNet. We’ve been helping people and companies grow and prosper for nearly 20 years. Because if you consistently work on improving yourself, you will become someone who attracts success in all areas.

Take Action

  1. List everything you fear
  2. Pick one to eliminate
  3. Make a plan to eliminate it—and execute that plan

Please Tell Us What You Think
I’ve published this article and the previous ones here on my Blog. Please add your comments, questions and suggestions at the bottom of the post. Your feedback and engagement is important. If you disagree with anything, say so. If you have questions, ask. If you have additional insights or resources, please share. I promise to read every one. Thank you.

BTW, you’ll gain even greater value from this series if you have a copy of my book, The Achievement Code: The 3C Formula for Getting What You Truly Want (available in print or Kindle). Details at www.TheAchievementCode.com

Previous installments of this series are located here on my Blog.

  1. Insufficient Desire
  2. Lack of—or Erroneous—Beliefs
  3. Confusion, Lack of Clarity
  4. Lack of Focus and Concentration
  5. Inadequate Support

F-E-A-R has two meanings:

1. Forget Everything And Run, or

2. Face Everything And Rise.

The Choice is Yours!