Are you a widget or a machine?

The single most important thing you should consider in growing your ability to do more, succeed whatever that means to you, or achieve your goals is to build systems.  A system can be as simple as a checklist or as complex as custom software.  Better still, assemble a team of people who can build their own systems.  This is how you achieve leverage to get work done while you are doing something else.  You can do this as an employee or a business owner.  It is not limited to managers or bosses.  In fact, you will find yourself climbing the corporate ladder or growing your business the better you get at building systems.

When your manager asks you to document your work, they are building systems so when you go onto the next thing, someone else has the blueprint and can do the amazing work you just did with less ramp up time.  The systems are the business.  That is what investors buy, money machines.  Insert a dollar in this end, and out the other you get more than a dollar.  All businesses need to do that whether you work in one, run one, or own one.

So as you consider how to make an impact in your endeavors, ask yourself how you are building a system to get the work done.  You may find yourself picking up the hammer and doing the works that needs to be done.  Ask yourself if you are turning the wheel in another system or building a new one to replace yourself.  There is often fear around automating yourself away, but it should always be your goal.  If you can replace yourself, you can take on a higher order of work.  You can now do more, or go to your managers and confidently show how you have automated a job.  As an employer, do you want to fire someone who can do that?  Hell no.  You will give them another area of the business that needs to be automated which decreases cost, increases consistency and quality.  Designing yourself out of your job is the precise way you take on a more challenging one.

Once you’ve done so, don’t coast, step up to the next challenge.  There is a lot of coasting going on in the world, and it’s easy to spot.  People find their niche, turn the crank, and become content.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you want to continue to grow, learn to identify it and make the next step by building a system.