• Yvonne Root

The Human Side of Systems



Chuck in a Truck doesn’t need to write out or document his systems; they’re in his head. And that works for him. But the minute he hires an employee, the glitches begin.

Implementing practical business systems is the only effective way to manage the essential details of your construction contracting business.

It must be done. Here is a closer look at the highlighted words from above.

Practical – adapted or designed for actual use; useful

Effective – adequate to accomplish a purpose; producing the intended or expected result

Essential – absolutely necessary; indispensable

The human side

In The E-Myth Revisited, Michael Gerber says, “Organize around business functions, not people. Build systems within each business function. Let systems run the business and people run the systems. People come and go but the systems remain constant”


It is interesting to note that the “people come and go” portion of the above quote is one reason to create systems – including the systems that have to do with onboarding the newly hired, training, and dealing with unacceptable behavior.

And, while we (mostly) agree with Gerber’s statement, we believe it is vitally important that people (yes even those who may move on) be considered each step of the way when creating and maintaining systems.

Consider the people

It is necessary to have the right people involved in developing and documenting systems. Typically, it is the people who will be using the system who should be called upon to record them. Yet, it is essential to consider all the people who are affected by the system.

For example, while you wouldn’t have the hands in the field develop payroll systems, you will need to ensure that those same folks understand and correctly use the portion of the system dealing with the collection of time worked data.

That leads to the next consideration when developing systems. They must be easy to use. Whether you’re depending on an app or writing the system from the ground up, if it isn’t easy to use, it won’t be.

One benefit of creating and using systems that can easily be overlooked is the motivation factor. When employees know that part of their job is to improve the system whenever possible, it increases their engagement. Plus, personal satisfaction comes into play when they know they can complete their work more efficiently and effectively.

Give the people the “why”

Here is a quick look at some of the ways systems are beneficial to you and your employees:

· Automate repetitive processes

· Streamline tasks

· Identify bottlenecks

· Find areas for improvement

· Retain data integrity

· Maintain consistent results

· Improve communication

· Ensure accountability

· Prioritize ideas

· Collect information efficiently

· Gain agility in responding to emergencies

Beyond the above list, there are bottom-line considerations. Simply put, building and implementing systems within your construction contracting business means you:

· Reduce costs

· Increase profitability

· Boost client loyalty

One last thought

"If you can't describe what you are doing as a process, you don't know what you're doing. . . . 94% of all failure is a result of the system, not people." W. Edwards Deming

Developing and implementing systems must be a priority to maintain or grow your construction contracting business. But keep in mind the people who build and use them must be considered as a part of the whole package.

We desire to familiarize you with business concepts, which will make it easier for you to be a better commercial construction subcontractor through our blog posts. Some are new ways of looking at things, and others are refreshers.


The Profit Constructors Provide Contract Document Management and Advisory Board Level counsel for small to medium commercial construction subcontractors.

So you can Run With the Big Dogs! Call us 866-629-7735

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610 East Bell Road, Suite #2-612

Phoenix, AZ 85022-2393

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