How to write a system note

February 10, 2012

Great businesses have great people running great systems, but great systems don’t happen overnight. They can take months to be written, ironed out and bedded in to the fabric of the day-to-day running of a business.

Every great system has to be written down, if it’s not written down, it isn’t a system and is just an idea in someone’s head (or heads).

So here’s a great task for you to do for a Friday night (!), writing a system note….

Step 1 – Work out whether you are the best person in your team to write a system note. My last system note was denounced as ‘rubbish’ by one of my team, the one before that ‘very difficult to understand and no help at all’. So clearly I may not be the best person to write them in my team. The team members who are usually the best are the process driven, high attention to detail, organised type people.

Step 2 – Pick the system in your business that has the highest impact which needs the greatest work (any system around cash collection must rank as high priority)

Step 3 – Write the system note in a step by step fashion without jargon as if you are talking to a three-year old. Leave nothing out, literally cover everything. (I say ‘write’, but system notes can work well as audio or video)

Step 4 – Ask a team member to read your system note and then perform the task – this is the true litmus test on whether the system note is a hit or a miss. It will probably, at the very least, need a few tweaks.

Step 5 – Put the system note where people can find it, I personally like them to be printed and on the network

Voila, one system note down, a hundred to go!


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