In May of 2008, I required all the managers in my small business, Centratel, to read Work the System. I then gave them this quiz to see how well they truly understood the crux of the Work The System mindset and why it has been such a catalyst for Centratel’s success. All my managers “passed” with a 90% or higher.  

If you own a small business, or manage a corporate department, you might consider making Work the System required reading for your staff. Feel free to use this quiz. See how well your staff members “get” the crux of the methodology.
– sc

Work the System Quiz

Comprehension Test

Name:____________________________________ Date: _____________

This is not an open-book test! Questions can be answered in 4 sentences or less. OK to use the back of the sheet if you don’t have room. Each question is worth 5 points. There are three bonus questions at the end, each worth 3 points.

  1. Describe in your own words the term “Simple Mechanics,” and how it applies to the operation of Centratel.
  2. How does a project engineer approach things?
  3. What are the second and third steps of the Work the System method? (hint: the first step is documentation)
  4. “Control is a good thing.” In a single word, what is the basic methodology Centratel uses to keep control?
  5. We avoid whacking moles. What do we do instead?
  6. Relative to systems, what does the term “a Propensity for Perfection,” mean?
  7. What is “system improvement,” and contrast it with “mole-whacking”.
  8. How is the “outside and slightly above” perspective different from most peoples’ view point? How do most people view things?
  9. Ockham’s Law: What is the central premise?
  10. What is the first of the three fundamental documents of the Work The System Method? Describe its purpose.
  11. What is the second document of the Work the System Method? Describe its purpose.
  12. What is the third (series of documents) of the Work the System Method? Describe its purpose.
  13. Why is it important to have a personal system analogy? Do you have one? If so, what is it?
  14. In your own words, briefly list five of the 30 Operating Principles used at Centratel?
  15. What is the single most significant difference between a large successful business and a small struggling business?
  16. Why do we consider perfection as “98% perfect”?
  17. Describe three possible errors of omission either in a personal life, a business, or a culture?
  18. Describe the term “tweak and maintain” as it applies to Systems methodology. How does it contribute to overall efficiency?
  19. Which is more important: good communication or more communication? Explain
  20. What is Biological Prime Time? What is Mechanical Prime Time?

Bonus question #1: As a manager, describe your own “system perspective,” as it applies to your job

Bonus question #2: Is there something in your life that you do very well? If so, what is it?

Bonus question #3: List three books you have read within the last two years.