Why You Should Implement Systems


“Is your CrossFit Box a business or a job you own?” The easiest way to answer that question is by asking another: “If you were taken out of the picture for 30 days, what would happen?” If that sent you into a panic and created thoughts of anxiety, the answer is that your CrossFit isn’t a business, it is a job you own.

Businesses are set up with systems that are easy to follow and replicate, allowing you to make sure things are done how you want and when you want. When first starting out, you might be in charge of many of these responsibilities. However, if you had to or wanted to plug someone else into those roles, it could happen.

In the book “The E-myth Revisited” by Michael E. Gerber — an absolute must read for every small business owner — McDonald’s is stated as a prime example of this. I know, there probably isn’t a bigger polar opposite from CrossFit than McDonald’s, but there is no denying their success. There are over 28,000 McDonald’s locations in the world and no matter which one you go to, the cheeseburger always tastes the same even though in many cases it’s prepared by a 16-year-old. How is this done? Systems!

It starts with an organizational chart that lists out everyone’s title and their corresponding responsibilities. There is no difference from the kid making french fries to one of your Coaches; each has a job to do and each needs to know how that job is done and what is expected of them while doing that job. Once this is created, expectations are clear and the freedom for each individual to use their talents can be utilized to get that job done. If your Coaches don’t know that you want an emphasis to be placed on mobility before and after a WOD, there is no one to blame but yourself.

Create these systems for everything and nothing gets overlooked. And if it does, your system either needs to be buttoned up or maybe you don’t have the right person in that position. Better yet, when that system is in place, your beach vacation can be spent on the things that matter, instead of focusing on putting out small fires over the phone or worrying about if everything is running smoothly while you are away.

So where to start? First, list every job that gets done or needs to get done. Then bunch those into groups and determine which job title each would fall under. After this, list out who owns those job titles. As mentioned earlier, they might all currently be you. Finally, start at the bottom, usually the easiest of jobs, and create a system for each that details what needs to be done and how. If your goal is to start placing others into those roles, you now have the process to do so.

This is a very simplistic view of the process and is detailed more thoroughly in “The E-Myth Revisited,” but the above is enough to get your wheels turning. So, now the ball is in your court. Do you want to continue owning your job and putting in 12 to 16 days coaching, programming, cleaning the bathrooms and every other imaginable task. Or do you want to put some of that time into creating systems, start owning a business and finally get back to loving what you do?

Eric Karls is a founder of CrossFit 859 in Nicholasville, Kentucky. He also helped open CrossFit Fisticuffs in Georgetown, Kentucky, and is the founder/supervisor of Georgetown College CrossFit. Eric can be followed on his personal Facebook or contacted at crossfit859eric@gmail.com.