Great Systems Won’t Fix Your Business. Ever.



Pillar #1: Environment Of Excellence

_RDL9185 LR  From the desk of Kamahl Barhoush.


You’re in business so you’ve heard all of the buzz words.

“You have to have great systems.”

“Systems run the business, your people just work the system.”

“McDonald’s is the best because of their systems.”

This was drilled into us throughout the 80’s and 90’s, especially with the momentum and surge of the franchise industry.  All of which seems to make sense – we can look at a successful franchise, see that they have great systems and quite easily put 2 and 2 together.

Then we seek other evidence… “There’s a business that is failing” we might say, “…and they don’t have good systems”, and so, with logical deduction, we say that the systems are the missing element.

Put your hand up if you’ve ever bought a self-help book, or business or motivational CD set or wing-ding package sold from on stage in a hyped up business seminar.

Keep your hand up if it is still sitting on your shelf, collecting dust, having never been completed.


Not 2 CD’s in and ticked off as done, but actually done.

(My hand is also up by the way, I’m guilty of the same case of expensive bookshelf).

So you have the tools, but you haven’t used them.

And having but not using is the same as not having.

Business systems work the exact same way.  I’ve lost count of the businesses I’ve worked with who have the most comprehensive, professionally edited, 1.2.3 step systems collecting dust on a shelf (or virtual dust on the company intranet).

Answer this question to yourself honestly: How many of your employees have actually read a single system cover to cover?

Have you even read them all? (unless you wrote them of course)

You see McDonalds wasn’t built on great systems.  They are simply the tools to deliver on the foundations, the standards, the excellence of the business.

Ray Kroc (the milkshake machine salesman who bought McDonalds and turned it into the empire you know it as today) first saw a great product.

Then he saw a great opportunity.

Then he said “How can I get this awesome product in the hands of more people without compromising on quality?”

In other words: “What tool will help me replicate these high standards?”

I’ve never met a business who’s asked me to overhaul their systems, that hasn’t had some fundamental shift that has needed to occur on an organisational level first.

Poor performance is the symptom.

The systems are the first port of call (think about the Doctor prescribing medication) to try and shift the symptoms.  The problem of course, is that while I can give you drugs for your Type II Diabetes, unless you undergo significant lifestyle changes (standards in which you operate your life), you will be reliant on those drugs for life and you will never be able to perform at your past peak (let alone future potential).

So the systems are the symptoms, but the underlying ‘lifestyle’ changes are bred in the culture.

Culture is the sum of Vision and Mission in a business.

When these all align, and standards are in place (the un-waivering line in the sand of expectation and delivery), then we have an Environment Of Excellence.

Then we start improving systems.

So what is the process to developing your own ‘Environment Of Excellence’?

There’s an info-graph below… which I’ll lay out step by step for you.

Business Coaching Melbourne

#1 Pulse Check On The Current Health Of Your Business

This is the starting point.

If I want to read a map to drive across the country, I first need to be able to identify where I am on that map.

We do this in business by using our 60-Point Diagnostic (which we have made available to all business owners for free.  Click here to access it)

#2 Culture DNA check

Using the results from your diagnostic, we look at your current vision, mission and values.  Then we cross-reference where you say you want to be, with where the map shows you actually are.  Then, ask some serious questions and answer them honestly.

“Do I bring 100% to these values every day?”

“Does every member of my team?”

If there’s a mis-match between where you say you want to be, and where you are, then the culture DNA is the best starting point.

#3 Team Training & Motivation

Once we have established where we are, we then plot the course to where we want to go.

Motivation in this context doesn’t mean we motivate our people, rather, now is the time where we judge where our team members sit on their own motivational spectrum (high, low or otherwise), and we use our team training to teach them how to adjust their own state to bring themselves back in alignment with what our company stands for and represents.

Motivation is short term and requires RESOURCES.

Self-state elicitation builds self-confidence and fosters a persons RESOURCEFULNESS.

#4 Implementation of culture tools for ongoing success

It’s been said that it takes 21 days to form a habit – in a business, that number is more like 90 days.

So we have established where we are, we have decided on what we need to do in order to get to where we want to go, and we’ve done some training with our team.

Next, we take some of our culture tools, and find ways to integrate them into our environment Every. Single. Day.

Our team gets in a huddle and we talk about our extra-curricular physical training (we place high importance on physical health as a pre-curser to our abilities to perform at work).

Every single one of my clients now do daily ‘7-minute Huddles’ between team mates.  I have clients with production teams doing this, dot commers, food manufacturing companies, you name it.

2 key questions to ask in your huddle: “What are you working on?” and “How can I help?”.

Think about every person in your team asking each other how they can help as opposed to demanding things!

These 4 steps form the foundation of your Environment Of Excellence.  The foundation of the foundation so to speak.

You don’t have to have them all perfect to move on to Pillar #2, but you MUST be at least working on it as a priority.

Or not.

The choice is always yours.

Here’s to your success…


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