When you get a feel for systems management in your daily life, you will notice when it isn’t happening around you. As you interact with the world you’ll find yourself critiquing what works and what doesn’t, hyperaware of the processes others control. This new posture as an informal service-quality observer will go with you everywhere.

Are you noticing poor system management?
Are you noticing poor system management?

You will understand the real reasons why people who promise to call don’t call; why there is lousy service in certain restaurants, retail stores, and hotels; why there is haphazard communication with a service provider. You will develop a knack for instantly recognizing shoddy workmanship, missed deadlines, promises not kept, bad attitudes, and sloppy execution. You’ll recognize these dysfunctional human performances as the logical end result of poor process engineering and/or maintenance, both organizational and personal. Human dysfunction is pervasive. As soon as your new systems vision takes hold, you will begin to notice these inefficiencies. But when you encounter efficiency in an organization or another individual, you will notice that too, and you will appreciate it for the beautiful thing it is.

When you’re at the receiving end of poor service, remember that the ultimate problem is not with the person who is facing you, who may indeed be rude or uncaring, but with the individual at the top of the organization who is not managing properly. Even so, be sympathetic with the absent leader. Most people don’t understand the system-improvement methodology, or even that there is such a thing. With best intentions and working hard, they stumble along, batting off the fastballs as they come hurtling in from all directions. I was like that.

What about selfish people who circumvent the rules and don’t consider others? Be careful here, too. Don’t confuse someone’s personality flaw with their mechanical problem, which is a simple lack of attention to the details of individual relationship systems. How one goes about cultivating good relationships is also a system, and the methodology must be set up with care and executed with consistency. For thoughtless people, the base problem is not usually a personality flaw, but the lack of a functional relationship maintenance system. This error of omission creates a vicious circle. These people do not return calls, remember birthdays, say hello to strangers, spontaneously smile, send thank-you notes, extend invitations, or really listen while in a conversation. They don’t show interest in the vicissitudes or successes of the people right in front of them. The consequence is that they receive little positive attention in return. These lonely people feel rejected and alienated yet dig themselves deeper and deeper into loneliness, getting ever more sour on life. Is it their fault? Well, mechanically speaking, yes it is.

It sounds antiseptic, but it’s the reality: some people don’t apply the recurring relationship fundamentals necessary to make and keep friends. Maybe they don’t care enough, or more likely they just don’t understand the mechanical reality that having friends requires routine forethought and effort.

Despite the near perfection of our natural world, look around right now and notice that the human qualities of dependability and consistency are in short supply. And because they are in short supply, people accept that condition as normal. Actually, people should accept it as normal. It is normal. And happily for you, this means standing out from the crowd won’t take much effort. The people around you will start to notice your quick execution of detail, your consistent reliability, the congruency between what you say and what you do. And especially they will feel your calm, confident comportment and that you are in control of things. People can depend on you and know what to expect, and this makes you attractive to them. New customers, great employees, and reliable friends will be drawn to you because you doggedly adhere to the simple system-management tenets for cultivating great relationships.

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: Egor Gribanov

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