My Takeaway of ‘Work the System’ Book by Sam Carpenter


I believe, to live a good life, you need to commit to lifelong learning…

And that includes reading better books.

Doing so helps you understand why you do what you do, make better, rational choices in life and work, and develop life’s most important life skills.

This week I read for the first time Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less by Sam Carpenter. This book is a reality check for business owners and department managers who are struggling. In order to design your ideal life, this book is should be on your reading list.

Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less will guide you in streamlining the interlaced systems that drive every aspect of your work. The key is to dramatically increase the efficiency of the business you own or the department you manage, while standing ”outside and slightly elevated” from the processes.

Work the System Book Summary

The strategies will help you dramatically improve your own personal performance while decreasing the stress of being overtaxed and disorganized, by helping you

– Recognize the systems that are affecting your world and manipulate them into super-efficiency
– Maximize productivity when you know you’re at your peak brain capacity
– Avoid the time-wasting imperfection of striving for perfection

While the book providing exact direction for creating a culture of ”system improvement,” the author’s own story is woven in too. His story’s journey includes Carpenter as a single parent of two going from working 100-hour workweeks to 2-hour workweeks, while making way more money.

My Ten Takeaways!

  1. Your life and business are a result of systems you have complete control, systems over which you have no control at all, and systems over which you have some but not complete control.
  2. Largest obstacle to better preparation is the reluctance to invest the necessary time. To be better prepared it takes time.
  3. The Work the System Documentation should include:

      1. Strategic Objective. 1 page Strategic Objective document will provide overall direction for your business and your personal life.
      2. General Operating Principles. To be only 2 or 3 pages long. This condensed “guidelines for decision making” document requires 10 – 20 hours to complete. However these hours are to be spread over a period of a month or two.
      3. Working Procedures. This documentation is the specific collection of protocols that outline exactly how the systems of your business or your job will operate.
  4. The Work the System methodology involves:
    Documenting your Systems,
                   2. Separating, Dissection, and Repairing your systems
                   3. Maintaining your Systems on an ongoing basis.
  5. First, you work your systems. Then your systems do the work. Stephen Covey said it best with this quote; “Management works in the system; leadership works on the system.”
  6. Ninety-eight percent accuracy is “perfect” because trying to achieve that additional 2 percent demands too much additional energy.
  7. Without exception, the businesses that are large and successful are ‘working their systems.’ The ones without thoughtful direction or even structured—most small businesses—are struggling. It’s very simple.
  8. Time spent examining and tweaking systems to perfection, means great results will materialize.
  9. Stop looking for a sudden hand-of-God solution to problems. Drop the idea that life is convoluted and mysterious, strip away the complexity, and get to work repairing the underlying inefficient mechanisms one by one
  10. The Quantity of Communication connects directly to any success or failure.

Getting what you want—in life and work—lies in focusing on ‘working the systems’ that create the results.

If you find this information interesting then you should first read the book and then subscribe to our newsletter to get more content.

Talk Soon,

Nicky Cane

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