Outside And Slightly Elevated

System worksI have just read a book called Work the System and it has given me a lot to think about.


Outside and slightly elevated is a much repeated phrase in it. It refers to looking at your business in a different way.


If you run a business, online or offline, or even if you just have a life, it is well worth a read.


You can read it yourself for free. (See below).


Systems thinking


The main concept is Systems Thinking. Look at your business, your relationships, your life as a set of systems and subsystems.


These systems are working perfectly most of the time and doing what they should do.


If you don’t like the results you are getting, it is probably because you didn’t consciously set them up with a goal in mind.


This came as a revelation to me. I thought I was just disorganized and pretty much didn’t have any systems.


It turns out that I do. My apparently chaotic results are just the outward signs of them running like clockwork.


The great news is that all I need to do is look just beneath the surface and tease them out.


Identify my subsystems and see how they are set up. Then I can discard the ones that don’t serve me and adjust the rest to do what I want.


When all the subsystems are fixed, the primary system my business, should be like a well oiled machine.


The key to this system is documentation


In order to put it into practice, you need to create a set of documents.


The first one is the Strategic Objective. This defines what your business is all about. What you are trying to do and what your beliefs and values are.


You then need a General Operations document. This helps to make sure that any decisions you make in your business are made according to the beliefs and values defined in the previous document.


Finally, for each repetitive process in your business, you need a Working Procedure.


This is a step-by-step guide that anybody should be able to follow to carry out the task.


This is some extra work in the beginning but it will quickly pay off.


Working ON your business


You’re working on your business rather than in it. You’re putting the pieces in place to enable you to step away from it and still have it make you money.


When it operates without you physically having to be there, you are building a saleable asset. Also an exit strategy.


You have the possibility of handing it over to someone else for a nice chunk of change.


I have just finished reading through the book once and now I’m beginning to work through the process.


The Strategic Objective has certainly made me think.


I’m wondering for the first time, what is the purpose of my business.


Apart from making me money, what is it for? What does it do? How does it provide value?


A better question might be who does it serve? What can I do for them that nobody else can or better than anybody else can?


This may take some time but I think it will be worth it.


You can find the book here. It will cost you an email address for the PDF version. I tweeted about it to also get the audio book.


I am not sure how long this will be available. Giving away the book is a way to draw attention to the Work the System Academy. This is some online coaching program to take you through the formula.


It has a pretty hefty price tag and I am not sure it is really necessary if you read the book and act on it.


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