Book Review: Work the System
J.D. is on vacation. This is a guest post from Winston, the Get Rich Slowly “intern”.
Sam Carpenter has written an intriguing book about how his approach to owning and managing his telecommunications company in Central Oregon has changed dramatically to positively impact his life, both in immeasurable and measurable ways.
Work The System: The Simple Mechanics of Working Less and Making More takes the reader through the first 15 years of Carpenter's chaotic and workaholic tendencies to the practice he currently uses today to run a multi-million dollar company by investing just two-hours of work per week. After spending years running his business out of his head, lunging from one emergency to the next, trying to physically and financially keep the company running, Sam had a life-changing epiphany that transformed his relationship to work, to home, and to other people.
Step by step
Carpenter discovered the value of creating step-by-step instructions or systems for almost any process that encompassed his business. Once those systems were in place, anyone within the organization could follow the procedures and accomplish the objectives and goals of the company.
Carpenter stresses the importance of first developing strategic objectives, general operating principles, and then working procedures (the fluid part of the Work the System method) to maintain a healthy sense of control.
What I thought was going to be a theory filled with holes and short-cut tricks turned out to be something I could relate to. As a manager of ten individuals in state government setting, I could see myself using the methods he suggests. Though Carpenter focuses on his own company and the application of the steps to creating systems, the concepts carried over to my world outside of telecommunications.
I was intrigued by how the system protocols would cover universal work-related challenges as Carpenter used very specific examples to explain topics such as:
- employee hiring and firing
- pay and benefits
- vacation policies
- work culture
- adjustment in attitude
The thought, time, and energy required to switch to a systems-based approach would be high, but Carpenter does a convincing job of showing that the end results would benefit everyone involved in the implementation.
Not just for business owners
Carpenter's story of producing a large income while having little day-to-day work responsibility has little relevance to my current career situation. His wealth comes from a business that has a strong client base because of the principles he and his partner have implemented. However, he recognizes that not everyone is meant to be in that situation, and that the systematic approach can be applied to other work environments. He provides suggestions for how those who do not own a business can “work the system”.
With that being said, the primary audience for Work the System is business owners who find themselves overwhelmed and consumed by their current situation. This is not a get-rich-quick solution but a long-term, choice-based technique that might lead to greater financial success and secure a solid future.
Carpenter describes his current life situation as one that many Get Rich Slowly readers want to achieve. He has the financial means to sustain the quality of life he chooses and is not burdened by his career or responsibilities. He is Financially Independent.
I appreciated reading Work the System, and feel challenged to implement several of the strategies Carpenter suggests. He is so confident in his work that he offers this guarantee:
In the first 60 days, if for any reason you don't like the book, send it back to me and I will immediately refund 110% of the purchase price (the extra 10% is to pay for your postage in sending it back). I don't care what condition the book is in. I only ask you to add a brief note to tell me why it didn't fill your expectations.
My sense is not too many people will have to take him up on his offer.
Find out more at the Work the System website.