Building a Better system involves knowing how it works, finding the problems, and providing solutions. To get there, it’s essential to follow core principles and steps. Here are seven steps I use to build better systems.

1: Observe

Know how it works now. This includes how the system itself works, how people use it, and how they perceive it. This step must be done without bias and arrogance, and with an open mind, especially if you’re the one who created the system.

2: Diagnose

Find the pain points of the system. This includes inefficiencies and ambiguities, to name two. Sometimes a pain point is how the system workshow people use the system, and how people perceive the system.

3: Brainstorm

This exciting step is where creative thoughts and solutions can flourish. A leader must maintain that all involved brainstorm without bias and criticism. This is where you’ll determine what you can do to improve the system, not necessarily what will be done.

4: Mitigate

You must mitigate potential problems from your brainstormed solutions. That is, introduce criticism of potential and perceived problems the improvements may introduce. This must also be done without bias, both for those in favor of a solution and against.

5: Test & Development

You must create your solutions to prove they are possible, and then test them to prove they actually solve the problems of the current system. During this step, leaders must remain patient and vigilant to keep their team on track.

6: Implement & Solve

No plan goes off without a hitch, and leaders especially must be prepared to mitigate, reduce, or remove, any fallout, of disasters, that come from implementing the better system. The captain of the ship must be prepared to change course, but keep the destination in mind.

7: Maintain

No system is perfect, nor ever will be. Changes in perception, values, needs, wants, and just plain bad luck, can cause a seemingly effective system to crumble to support its people. You must maintain not only the current system, but also enable it to grow into a better system in the future when needed.