Positive Path Recommended Reading

Make Life Easier with Systems
By Catherine Palin-Brinkworth

There are three kinds of people - those who make it happen, those who let it happen and those who wonder what happened!

How many times have you lost a deal, lost a customer, lost a good staff member, and wondered what happened? Where did I go wrong? What did I do that didn't work?

A lot of the time we wing it, don't we? And there's nothing wrong with that. The use of our intuition, our experience and our spontaneity brings a freshness and reality to any situation. But I learned years ago when I first began in sales management, that when you create a system, you take the guesswork out of life and provide more opportunity, energy and safety for that freshness. It's like knowing what side of the road to drive on.

Once upon a time I was shown a puzzle. It's now shown to you, right here on this page. I know you're busy, but take just a moment and count how many squares you can see.


16? 17? 21? 26?

There are 30 squares! There is the big one around the outside and the sixteen small squares inside. That's 17. There is a square made up of four in each corner, a square of four on each side and one in the middle. That's 26. Then there is a square of nine small squares in each corner - an extra 4, totaling 30. Amazing, isn't it? "So what?" you may ask. Well, look for the metaphor.

It's a difficult puzzle for most people to do, at least in a short time, because they are looking at a muddle of lines and spaces, and it's tricky to sort out what squares have been counted already, and what you have not. Keeping track is challenging, unless there are coloured pens at the ready. So most people either give up (and lose) or get it wrong, or spend a lot of time sorting it out.

Life is just like that. Selling is like that. Service is like that. Management is like that.

We are usually dealing with fairly complex circumstances of communication between at least two different people with different styles, mindsets, agendas, attitudes and beliefs. We struggle and muddle, trying to sort out each circumstance individually, trying to remember everything we observe, and it's hard work. Or we just wing it and risk getting it wrong. Or we give up because it's too hard (and lose).

Life can get so much easier when we use a system.

Let's go back to the squares for a minute. There's a system we can use to make the puzzle easier to solve. There are four rows of squares. If we square the numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 individually, and then add them (that's 1, 4, 9 and 16) we get 30! Brilliant, isn't it? It works every time. And it works for more rows of squares too. It works because there is a system.

In your life and in your work, what systems could make life easier for you? Here are a few I teach:

1. There's a system for understanding different people's behavioural styles. I have a theory that there are no difficult people - just different people! If I can use a system to recognize their style and their needs, and treat them the way they need to be treated, they become more co-operative. And life gets easier.

2. There's a system for selling. A good system works well. If you can't sell, it could be because you are not completing every step of the system well enough, or because you forgot to use a system for screening prospects.

3. There's a system for negotiation. If we fail to achieve our goal in a negotiation it's likely it is because we have not followed a system and we have left out a vital ingredient.

4. There's a system for service. Complete the process correctly and your customers will appreciate you.

5. There's a system for leadership, for sales management and for coaching too. Follow a system, bring your heart and soul, skill and will to the steps and strategies, and you will succeed.

Every morning when you wake up you follow a system - a well-worn set of steps and processes that gets you ready for the world outside. If you leave any bits out you just don't feel quite right all day! When you start your car you follow a system. It has become unconscious competence by now - but miss a step and your car won't go.

Systems make life easier. Find systems that are right for you. Learn them, and use them to achieve. Systems help you save time and energy too.

About the author: Catherine Palin-Brinkworth is an international presenter, consultant and author on business and personal success strategies. She holds a Masters Degree in Social Ecology and is a Certified NLP Practitioner.

A powerful, inspirational presenter with practical and proven success skills and strategies, Catherine is in constant demand as a keynote speaker. Her web site is www.catherinepalinbrinkworth.com

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