For me, one plus one equals two. For you, one plus one also equals two. The natural mechanics of planet earth are reliable and can be trusted. And human-devised systems will also operate reliably if they are put together properly and then routinely maintained. If they are not put together correctly and then coddled, they will fail to produce the results we want.
Few people think their problems are a result of personal process failure. Most see their troubles as isolated events, blaming fate, horoscopes, bad luck, karma, God, the devil, neighbors, competitors, family members, the weather, the President, Congress, liberals, conservatives, global warming, too much TV, lack of money, too much money, the educational establishment, or just a world gone bad. And most see problems as overwhelming in number: an onslaught from out there, only to be fended off by superhuman efforts. For many, the excuse/blame list is endless. I had been a card-carrying resident of that camp, but when the new vision engulfed me there was zero chance I would ever live in that place again.
I now float through the day in fascination. Instead of wallowing in a hodgepodge of unpredictability and fire killing, I see events and objects as part of one structured system or another. This real-time, outside-and-slightly-elevated perspective has channeled peace and prosperity into my life and into the lives of those who depend on me.
I call it semi-enlightenment.
Negatives will sometimes worm their way into my day, most often due to my own failures. It’s not often, though-not any more.
This life I lead is a result of actions, actions rooted in my gut certainty that in the systems that compose the world’s workings, there is not a cosmic inclination to chaos. Rather, there is a default propensity toward order and efficiency.
Without question, I understand that inefficiency and its attending pain occur because of rare and isolated component problems within otherwise perfect systems.
It won’t take long. By, perfecting your life’s individual systems-by identifying them and then rebuilding them one by one-order and peace accumulate incrementally. However, the enhancements in these rebuilt systems must be made permanent or the systems will slip back into dysfunction due to random outside influence. In the workplace, permanence happens first by creating written descriptions of how systems are to operate, and second, by making sure responsible parties follow the steps described in the documentation. We’ll get to those details soon.
Once systems are examined and flawed components are exposed and repaired, systems will produce desired results. (Creating new contributing systems and eliminating unnecessary ones will add to success.) And since this is all mechanical, when the changes are performed and then locked in, tangible improvement is both instant and permanent.
For your own situation, not only can you count on an overwhelming bias toward efficiency, but also you probably won’t have a whole lot of systems to adjust, create, or delete. It won’t take long to get your circumstances straightened out.
Now we are at the heart of the work the system method. Your existence is composed of countless linear systems, many of which are under your direct command. These are the invisible threads that hold the fabric of your life together. If there is an outcome that doesn’t suit you, you can change that outcome by making a component adjustment within a system, adding a system, or eliminating a system. In your life’s rejuvenation, it will typically be all of the above.
Whether an outcome is to your liking or not, the underlying process is performing exactly as it was constructed. You are not at the mercy of mysterious conspiring forces or the swirling backwash of chaos. If it is in your power-and so much that affects you is in your power-you can fix things!
What about those systems you can’t repair because they are out of your influence? Relax. If you can’t fix something, don’t worry about it. Do what you can or walk away, but certainly don’t spend time or energy agonizing over it. If you live in a democracy, vote and then don’t complain. If you have a problem with a coworker, talk to him or her and then don’t obsess about the outcome. Metaphorically speaking, if you don’t like the TV program, change the channel or turn off the set. Save your energy for efforts that will provide tangible positive results within your circle of influence.
Note: Centratel CEO and international business consultant Sam Carpenter has written extensively on the concepts of system improvement and the systems mindset. Centratel’s Medical Answering Service assists hundreds of clinics during and after-hours, throughout the United States and is, by a variety of statistics, the highest quality answering service available among the approximately 1,500 services nationwide.
Photo Credits: Igor Gribinov