CEO Strategies: Work the system before it works you

| Print |  Email
Archives - August 2008
Friday, August 01, 2008

SamCarpenter Sam Carpenter’s book describes the world as a collection of systems that can be fixed.

IN 2000, AT THE NADIR of his career — and possibly his life — Sam Carpenter found himself depressed, medicated, logging 100-hour workweeks and just days away from missing a payroll for his Bend telephone answering service, Centratel.

But then he had a midnight epiphany — literally.

“I looked at my business and realized I could not fix this big amorphous mass unless I could see it in pieces,” says Carpenter. “That night, for the first time, I saw it in pieces.”

Eight years later, Carpenter’s company generates more than $2 million annually and his 30 employees never miss a paycheck. Carpenter himself is healthy — he works just two hours a week — and he’s making more money in a month than he used to make all year.

The 58-year-old shares his secrets in his recent book, Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Working Less and Making More. (Find out more at www.workthesystem.com.)

To him, the world is full of linear systems, and if you can see the world — or your business — as a collection of systems, then you can isolate the dysfunctional ones, fix them, and put them back into the mix.

“What people have to get is that their business is not a big holistic mass,” he says. “You have to look at it in a non-holistic way. Take it apart; fix the pieces that need fixing. If all the pieces are functioning perfectly, the end result is very good.”

Carpenter says small businesses need three essential components for success: a strategic objective; a list of general operating procedures; and a collection of working rules that outline how a particular system, say a sales presentation, is to work.

If one of those systems is malfunctioning, identify it, repair it and move on.

Carpenter also recommends paying close attention to the details of your life, but only those you can control.

“The things you can’t control,” he says, “just walk away.”

And, of course, always take a systems-based approach to business.

“Focus on one piece at a time,” Carpenter says, “because if you can focus on one piece, you sure as heck can fix one piece.”     

JON BELL


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Hall of Flame

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

A Power Lunch at Oswego Grill.


Read more...

100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

As momentum grows at the state level to introduce far-reaching environmental regulations, such as carbon pricing and the Clean Fuels Program, Oregon employers continue to go the extra mile to create green workplaces for their employees.


Read more...

Downtime with John Helmick

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Live, Work, Play: CEO of Gorilla Capital.


Read more...

An uncertain future

Guest Blog
Thursday, May 21, 2015
norristhumbBY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER

Uncertainty is a part of doing business, whether in through the lens of investment opportunities and risks or the business of running an enterprise.


Read more...

100 Best Green Workplaces announced

News
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
OBM-100-best-Green-logo-2015-1000pxwBY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

More than 250 people turned out today for Oregon Business magazine’s seventh annual celebration of the 100 Best Green Companies to Work For in Oregon.


Read more...

5 things to know about veterans in the workforce

The Latest
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
070215-vetsthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

There are more than 10 million former military members working in the United States.


Read more...

Up in the Air

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY ANNIE ELLISON

Portland tech veteran Ben Berry is leaving his post as Portland’s chief technology officer for a full-time role producing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) aimed at first responders and the military. Berry’s AirShip Technologies Group is poised to be on the ground floor of an industry that will supply drones to as many as 100,000 police, fire and emergency agencies nationwide. He reveals the plan for takeoff.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS