Treat Your Company Like a Machine

Success is a funny thing. When you try at it, and I mean really try, it often comes. But if you try too hard, you fail. By trying to solve a problem, you gave yourself a new problem. If you want to get somewhere, you have to know which way to go.

You have to treat your company like a machine. It has many moving parts and works to achieve a specific goal. You are the engineer and operator of this machine. You can make your machine work like a charm, or you can break it and slow down production.

There are a few rules to keep your machine working properly.

Rule #1. Give the machine a structured process

Machines on an auto manufacturing line have specific processes. One machine makes the chassis, one makes the drive train, and another connects the two. Each machine has a set process and order it follows to complete its job. After its job is complete, it passes the finished product on to the next machine.

Your company should run the same way.

Employees work best when they know exactly what is expected of them, and how to meet those expectations. A transparent set of processes and responsibilities are needed to keep everyone accountable and keep your company running smoothly.

Without a specific process, an auto manufacturing line wouldn’t function. If you are constantly reprogramming a machine from painting to door manufacturing, you waste a lot of the programmers time, and the cars don’t get made as quickly.

By giving each machine a designated set of tasks, it knows exactly how to achieve its goals.

Rule #2. The machine needs oil and maintenance

Shit happens. Your machines can get stuck even when it has a clear process. Repeated use and inadequate environments contribute to this. The way to prevent it is by making sure your machine is properly oiled and maintained.

The system relies on all pieces moving in sync. If one of your gears gets stuck, the whole machine breaks down. The gears need to be properly oiled.

The oil for your employees is their tools and resources. It doesn’t matter how detailed or comprehensive the process is, a computer programmer can’t do his job without a keyboard. He needs that–and many other tools–to do his job properly.

busy working
Photo by Matt Bowden on Unsplash

Routine maintenance is one of the more frustrating parts of owning a machine–its also one of the most necessary. If you don’t make the minor repairs on your machine routinely, your machine may break down completely and need to be replaced.

Your employees are no different. They need consistent feedback and transparent conversations about their jobs. I believe that deep down everyone wants to do a good job. When you give your employees feedback, they learn how to best accomplish their tasks.

That goes the other way as well. If your employee is unhappy with your performance, you should seek out their feedback. If you made a mistake, make it right. Your success depends on how well your employees work.

A bad employee can make your life a living hell. A great employee can make your life so much easier. Maintain the relationship with your employees to avoid costly repairs or replacements.

Oil your machine, and it will run without a hitch.

Rule #3. Machines can overheat

Even well-oiled machines can’t run all the time. Too much stress on the moving parts can create more problems than it or you can deal with. Machines need to have scheduled breaks and cool-off periods to keep from breaking down.

Your employees need a break, too. I understand the urge to pack every minute of your employees time with tasks and work. But those employees never last long. They’ll get sick and tired of working like a dog for 8 straight hours a day, and they’ll leave for a job that is less stressful.

They have lives outside of work–and I guarantee they like that a lot more. If there’s a option between life and work, the smart employees will choose life every time. Only the ones who can’t get a job anywhere else will remain.

Instead of focusing on time worked, focus on results. If your employee leaves work feeling drained every day, you’re doing it wrong. They should leave feeling energized, and you should leave feeling like they did a good days work. Don’t expect to squeeze every bit of energy out of your employees.


This “machine” principle can apply to yourself, your family, or any other system in your life.

And they all have gears. Companies have employees. Your family has people. You have your own time and energy.

Your company or system runs like a machine. It needs to be well-oiled and maintained with a specific process and designated cooling periods in order to run properly. If you don’t follow this owners manual, you could be left with a costly repair.

Thanks for reading!

Featured photo source: Garett Mizunaka on Unsplash

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