There is an illusion that a lot of businesses have. It comes from being comfortable and blind at the same time. They forget what it is like for a stranger to experience their business. The old person in all of us likes ritual, habits and predictability. With this, we try to control our environment by controlling what comes into it.
However, when that luxury becomes less of an option because of economic forces on us, we have to change.
We can only say we have a truly scalable and robust system when a new person comes along. We have a system which works for us when there are no new people. We can take shortcuts often when we only have to rely on our head knowledge. The intimacy we have with how we do things allows us to use shorthand. Notes don’t have to be in a system a certain way for others. Our execution does not have to notify other teammates. This is the luxury of being small and unchanged.
A growing organization experiences the challenges of collaboration. Results come from a team moving forward in the same direction. To move the team, there has to be a system and process which enables action, communication and an experience.
Welcome The Brand New Person
A great way to drive growth in your business is force the issue of new team members. They expose and motivate you around how robust your systems and processes truly are.
“To teach is to learn again.” stated Oliver Wendell Holmes. To have an effective team, you must have a learning and a teaching team. This drives buy-in from all the stakeholders. I like how John Maxwell notes the learning process:
- First, you do it.
- Then you bring someone and let them watch you do it.
- Next, let them do it and you watch.
- Have them take someone else and do it with them.
Teaching reinforces mastery. There is cognitive and emotional commitment. When a brand new person becomes part of your team, you have an opportunity to exercise this process by allowing your team to master your processes. The brand new person does not have the curse you do. You are incapable of seeing their unfamiliarity through their eyes. You are too familiar.
Thus, the curse of knowledge keeps you from building systems which truly scale.
I would love to hear your experiences and comments below.