5.0 out of 5 stars
The power of systems thinking
Reviewed in the United States on March 9, 2021
When David Jenyns contacted me and asked if I would read and review his book, I was knee-deep in books to read already. Another author referred me to him, so I agreed to review his book, but I couldn’t promise when. With that understanding, I purchased his book and put it in the stack.
I did get to reading SYSTEMology, and I am pleased that I did. To begin with, I am a system and process kind of guy. I believe in documenting what we are doing and working to improve it over time. I use checklists and process outlines in my work every day.
One difficulty is that my experience with documenting systems is based on my career in large public corporations. The resources at my disposal were significant. I have struggled a bit trying to curb my enthusiasm for documenting systems to match the small to mid-sized private companies that comprise my customer base these past two decades. Enter SYSTEMology. Jenyns has successfully translated the big public company world to the private business world for us. And, of course, he has systematized the systemization.
Enthusiastic and Generous
If I were to criticize Jenyns’ writing, it would be to suggest that his enthusiasm borders on overselling his process and his book. A significant trend in business is to move away from selling and advertising to being found. An unintended consequence of that trend is the acceleration of “content marketing.” I could easily mistake this book for one big selling process through content marketing.
Except for one saving grace—Jenyns is very generous with his process, knowledge, and material. He has made this as much of a DIY project as anyone could hope to have. The resources on the SYSTEMology website will be enormously helpful. I referred several clients to this book since they have expressed a desire to scale their businesses while also stepping away from day-to-day involvement. I will also suggest this book to the startup businesses I advise. If an owner starts a business with systems thinking as a value and goal, life will be much easier.
Layout and Style
The book is predominantly organized around the SYSTEMology seven-step process: Define, Assign, Extract, Organise, Integrate, Scale, and Optimise., I enjoyed reading SYSTEMology because Jenyns starts each chapter with a summary of what we’ll be learning. Also, at the start of the chapter is a myth statement such as “Myth: You will need to create hundreds of systems to systemize a business.” At the end of each chapter is a case study of how a client implemented that particular process step. There are also links to online systems resources and a summary of the steps in the process. I spent some time going through the website content and found it to be useful and accessible. It will prove valuable to those who implement the seven-step process.
Jenyns writes in a straight forward clear style. It is clear to me that he understands small businesses and the constraints on them. Besides being an excellent process, Jenyns makes it practical and down to earth.
The subtitle of this book is, “Create Time, Reduce Errors, and Scale Your Profits with Proven Business Systems.” It will be several months before I will have firsthand knowledge of clients implementing SYSTEMology. However, I believe that when properly implemented, the promise of the subtitle will be kept. Most exciting for the business owners I work with will be the time recovered to work on the business instead of working full-time in the business.
I recommend this book to any business leader who aspires to a more strategic role and desires to scale their company. I believe SYSTEMology should be required reading for any startup company. This book will be well worth the read, and your business will thrive when you install system thinking as a significant piece of your culture.
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