Don’t be pressured into neglecting results

Once upon a time, I was fortunate enough to do an A-level course which introduced control system theory. It’s stayed with me all of my life, and I’ve found that it applies far more widely than in an engineering sense. It can be a big help in tackling everyday business projects if you understand that most systems have an input, a process, and an output which feeds back to optimise the input.

The key to efficient system management is to have confidence in the process, and concentrate on analysing the output to provide better feedback to the input.

How does this apply to providing services or products to customers? If your process is sales, it’s inefficient to devote all of your resources to pushing input into the system (e.g. getting enquiries), and not monitoring the results (determining which ones were productive). When I start a new business relationship – providing a service – I know it’ll be a good one if clients are mainly interested in talking about specifying the required outcome and reporting on how we’re doing. It’s not going to work well if they spend their time telling me how they think things should be done, and barely looking at the results.

If you’re managing a marketing process, such as running a website or pushing out emails, the key to success is spending time studying the output and getting that feedback loop working efficiently. Pushing stuff into the system has to be done, of course. But it’s not everything.