What do successful systems look like?

November 18, 2022

What do successful systems look like?

“Successful people do daily what unsuccessful people do occasionally. They practice daily disciplines. They implement systems for their personal growth…”—John C. Maxwell

Before we dive into what successful systems look like, let's first define what a system is. According to John Maxwell, a system is “a process for predictably achieving a goal based on specific, orderly, repeatable principles and practices.” In other words, it is a discipline.

At the core of a system is a goal, a purpose, or a priority. We develop steps that we can repeat in order to achieve those things. 

A goal could be developing a product or service for your business, and the system could be the process of making that product or service. 

It could be a personal goal, such as building your dream home, and the system is the process you need to follow to achieve it—do you need to work on discipline when it comes to finances? Is it about taking the steps to the actual building of the home?

It could be learning a new skill or language, or developing a new hobby.

Systems let you use all of your resources—time, skills, money, effort, etc.—in the best way possible. And it is intentional. The steps involved in building, executing, and improving your system are all anchored to your purpose. It allows us to take ownership of our lives and our decisions and motivates us to take our goals a step further.

We have all been taught that the secret to success is to set goals and chase after them. But without a system and discipline in place, we would be swept by the currents instead of taking steps towards it.

You need to take the bigger picture into account when building your system. Effective systems are made to make the most of the resources you have so you can reach your big goal. But we tend to look at goals and not break them down enough into the principles that they are built on.

Effective systems focus on priorities. The reason a lot of us fall short of our new year’s resolutions and intentions is that we didn’t take the time to break down those goals into smaller, manageable, and doable action steps. When we don’t have systems that help us do that, we become overwhelmed with the goal. We don’t know where to start, and we begin to doubt whether we can ever achieve it or not. Then we lose motivation midway through the year.

We can start with a simple list, itemizing our priorities and outlining the things and steps that are involved in achieving each priority. Make sure that it is measurable, meaning you have defined what “done” looks like and you can track how far your progress is for each task.

Effective systems, especially in personal and professional development, are also action-oriented. It is something you can apply yourself to and actually do.

Of course, it wouldn’t work if it wasn’t organized. There is a certain flow and order to everything. You can’t put the cart before the horse. It has to be in the right order for it to make sense. You need clarity on what your purpose is and what your priorities will be to be efficient.

If you are still building out a system for yourself, it is a good idea to bring in other people who have done this before, whether it is a friend, a partner, a coach, or a mentor. They can help guide you so that you can avoid as many failures as you can along the way, as well as keep you accountable for your goals and discipline.

For a system to be effective, it has to be both sustainable and scalable. It should give you room to grow while also giving you a sense of rhythm and consistency.

Our habits become us. Our lives are a reflection of so much of our automatic behaviors—how we talk to others, how we deal with challenges and problems, how we celebrate, how we deal with people, ourselves, and our businesses, etc.

Are your habits leading you to your desired destination? Do you have systems that drive you toward the success you’ve set for yourself?

Thank you for reading A Brilliant Tribe.